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Difficult times for pickled cucumbers

06-16-2020 03:01 PM CET | Associations & Organizations

Press release from: BOGK e. V.

The corona crisis has put the pickled cucumber market in an imbalance. This is pointed out by the German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Processing Industry (BOGK) in Bonn. “The demand exceeds supply,” says BOGK Association Director Christoph Freitag.

In March and April, consumer demand in retail was twice as high as usual. The warehouses are empty. The new harvest, that starts this week, will probably also be too small. Here are the reasons:

Around 60,000 seasonal workers are needed for the harvest, most of whom come from Poland and Romania. Even though the borders are now open again: Until June 15th, Germany has only allowed 80,000 seasonal workers to enter the country; in total only 40,000 have entered, too few for a normal harvest. The farmers have therefore already cultivated 20 % fewer cucumbers in advance. The labor shortage is also driving up labor costs. The processing industry therefore expects price increases for raw materials of 10 to 25 %.
The safety of its employees is as important to the industry as the safety of its products. The companies have, for example, organized the accommodation of seasonal workers with "half occupancy"; additional shifts allow more distance. This increases production costs. On average, vegetable processing companies expect cost increases of 15 to 20 %.

Since March, the demand in the hotel, restaurant and catering sector has collapsed. At first, sales here came to a complete standstill; for 2020 as a whole, the industry is preparing for a decline in sales of more than 50 %. 

In order that consumers can be supplied with vegetables from Germany, producers, processors and consumers have to adjust to the changed quantity and price relationships.

It therefore seems necessary for the sector to show a considerable degree of solidarity with businesses in need, especially in agriculture and catering.
Here, politicians are called upon to step in quickly and unbureaucratically with suitable financial aid. BOGK therefore welcomes the economic recovery package launched by the Federal Government last week. At the same time, the association suggests to think again specifically about targeted help for the industries mentioned.

BOGK e. V.
Christoph Freitag
Von-der-Heydt-Str. 9
53177 Bonn

The German Association of the Fruit, Vegetable and Potato Processing Industry (BOGK) is the voice of the sixth largest industrial sector in the German food and beverage industry. It has around 70 members in Germany and other European countries, many of them well-known companies in the fruit, vegetables and potato processing industry. All of them have one thing in common: they produce a comprehensive assortment of healthy, safe foods and they take their social responsibility seriously. BOGK supports them in all these activities. They are mediators, representatives and information providers. And they are all committed to lobbying both decision makers and the general public to support and promote food safety and health.

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