Germany, with a population of about 82 million persons (16% of the total EU population), is the largest consumer of fruit in the EU. The fruit group with the highest consumption consists of bananas, grapes, apples, oranges and tangerines. The German market is dominated by large retail companies which account for more than 75% of fruit and vegetable sales.
The major importers, who distribute their products directly to food supply chains (supermarkets), represent the most important distribution channel for imported vegetables. There are 18 vegetable markets in Germany which supply farmers’ markets, grocery stores and food service outlets (HORECA).
However, the distribution network through the vegetable markets is in decline, because the individual retail stores are under the stranglehold of the big supermarket chains.
The discount chains, which basically offer food and consumer products of private label, dominate by 54% to the retail fruit and vegetables and are also characterized by a limited fruit and vegetables variety, simple packaging and very competitive prices. The discount chains rank first followed by supermarkets (20%) and hypermarket (15%).
The German central vegetable market occupying an area of 2,700,000 square meters. Almost 21,000 persons work there, and the majority consists of import companies. In Germany about 20% of fruit and vegetables are distributed through this channel.
In Germany, the trend in recent years is for contracts to be signed between major food chains and producers from Germany and abroad (under production contracts). This happens via food supply chains (e.g. Aldi, Lidl, Rewe).
Similarly, there is the phenomenon of extension of certain producer groups in the wholesale. A typical case is the fruit and vegetable distribution company Landgard, which belongs exclusively to farmers.