Wholesale Markets Attend Fruit Logistica

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February 13, 2007

One of the world’s foremost fruit and vegetable expositions, Fruit Logistica, has seen a steady increase in attendance by wholesale market authorities. Held annually in February in Berlin, Germany, several WUWM members attended this last event from countries throughout Europe, with special collective exhibits promoting German, Italian and Polish markets and their respective national associations. Further to this promotion, and in light of the German Federal Government aim to enforce the ban on selling food below cost price, the German wholesale market association GFI held a panel discussion during the last Fruit Logistica entitled: “Price dumping - its effect on growers, sellers and consumers”. The event was held in Berlin’s ‘Red Town Hall’ (Rotes Rathaus) with more than 130 guests in attendance, including 20 international market authority representatives. The panel discussion began with Berlin’s Senator for Health, Environment and Consumer Protection Katrin Lompscher who introduced government’s concerns on the matter. She was followed by well-known experts in agricultural, wholesale, retail, political and academic circles who provided further insight into the current situation. Those speakers were: • Eckhard Engert, Federal Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection; • Gerhard Schulz, Chairman of the Federal Committee on Fruit and Vegetables of the Farmers’ Union (Deutscher Bauernverband); • Otto Weihe, Managing Partner of the fruit and salad business Weihe Früchte & Salate KG, Berlin; • Wilfried Thal, Federal Chairman of the Street Markets Section of the BSM (Federal Union of Showmen and Market Traders) and Vice President of the Hamburg Association of Itinerant Traders and Showmen; • Dr. Detlef Groß, CEO of the national umbrella organization of retailers, Hauptverband des Deutschen Einzelhandels e.V., Berlin; • Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Bokelmann, Head of the Agricultural Management and Marketing Section at the Faculty of Agriculture and Horticulture of the Humboldt University Berlin; • Dr. Carsten P. Oehlrichs, Zenk Law Offices, Hamburg; specialist for commercial and corporate law and the laws on foods, competition and brands; • Uwe Kluge, Managing Director of Bremen Wholesale Market and Chairman of the Board of GFI. The discussion highlighted the need for consumers to be better educated and informed about fresh produce, and there was acknowledgment that consumers needed more opportunities to enjoy and value food, learning to have appreciation for quality fresh produce. It was agreed that this could best be done by creating awareness, changing behaviour, and providing the public with the knowledge of where they could find quality produce - as well as how to identify it as such. Most of the audience and panel participants felt that these were goals best achieved with the industry and government working hand-in-hand. Furthermore, it was generally agreed that there was also the need to better support local products and regional produce, and to increase the diversity and variety of food available to consumers, whilst maintaining fair prices. Picture: GFI Wholesale Market Directors at Fruit Logistica with the WUWM Secretary General. Please open the document attached to read the official GFI press release (in English), and to see pictures from this panel discussion.