GERMANY: Spargel und Beerenanbau Winkelmann GmbH & Co
How has the pandemic affected your operations?
Andreas Löbke, Production Manager
For the 2020 season we had a shortage of about 25%, especially women from Poland who decided to stay with their families. We understood and respected their decisions. In March 2020, much of what was happening was new and unknown and presented us with some challenges. Due to the great commitment of our staff, we were able to implement all the necessary hygiene measures in a short time. Disinfectants were organised from various sources, masks were sewn at employees’ homes, the entire company premises were fenced off and guarded by a gatekeeper. We had 25% less production. But people who came working for us stayed for a longer period than usual, which helped. We have since learned to deal with the situation and have further tightened and improved our measures and hygiene standards. But the mutations with the higher infection rates worry us. In 2020, we had no infections on the farm. We hope that we will be able to do the same in 2021. We believe that customers are eagerly awaiting the first fresh asparagus and that sales in 2021 will be good.
How has it affected marketing, consumption and logistics?
None of our usual sales to gastronomy and canteen kitchen customers took place. Sales to food retailers worked well – but all on a lower base level. Our markets and our customer relationships have developed robustly, however. Consumers seemed to place more value on high-quality, fresh asparagus and ate a little more asparagus at home, maybe because they couldn’t go out to restaurants. Our exports, mainly to Scandinavia, have remained stable. Our logistics partners were able to deliver everything as agreed. Our own logistics also functioned reliably.