Watercress traditionally enjoys a rapid increase in demand around the Easter holidays. But this year Easter activity was a little below average, reported Christian Gimperlein, co-managing director of specialty grower Bio-Maintalkresse in Albertshofen. “Easter sales weren’t as good as other years, but we were able to sell a lot more in the week that followed. In terms of demand, the week after Easter was even better than the Easter business itself.
Bavarian Agriculture Minister Michaela Kaniber (m) visited the company a few days ago to discuss the current challenges with Christian Gimperlein (l) and his team.
Difficult market conditions
The Naturland-certified watercress producer also faces many challenges and increases in production costs, he said. “The seeds are ordered a year in advance, so we are well supplied here. But the situation is much trickier when it comes to packaging material. We still have enough material in stock because we pre-ordered in time, but if it continues like this, it will become scarce in the long term.” At the moment, says Gimperlein, expect delivery times of five months. in some cases.
Due to the more difficult general conditions, a price increase in the near future would be desirable from the producer’s point of view. However, this is where ideas and reality diverge. Gimperlein: “Prices have to be somehow affordable, not least because the consumer has less money after two years of Corona. In this respect, cost increases are only partially applicable.”
Seven varieties of watercress are now grown in the Gimperlein greenhouse, according to Naturland standards.
Despite everything, the watercress specialist draws up a rather positive assessment at the end of the classic high season from Christmas to Easter. “Gourmets are open again and business is picking up noticeably with rising temperatures. Demand from food retailers was also strong and stable in the first quarter. The demand for standard garden cress is fairly constant, while the exotics are increasingly in demand. Gimperlein continues.
Busy winter and summer
In addition to direct deliveries to (southern) German food retailers, the Bio-Maintalkresse brand is firmly represented at the wholesale markets in Munich, Nuremberg and Frankfurt. “In Munich, we feel an increased demand, especially in winter, partly due to ski tourism. In Frankfurt, demand tends to be concentrated in spring and summer, which is due to the popularity of green sauce,” concludes Gimperlein. .