Agronometrics Interviews: Perspectives From Fruit Logistica 2024: Herbert Widmann GmbH

By Agronometrics | 15 February 2024

In this installment of the ‘Agronometrics In Interviews’ series, Sarah Ilyas conducts an exclusive interview with Jan-Henrik zum Felde, Key Account Manager at Herbert Widmann GmbH. The series is based on interviews with esteemed professionals from the industry, focusing on a specific origin or topic visualizing the market factors that are driving change.

Can you tell me a little bit about Herbert Widmann? 

We specialize in berries and are part of the Gemüsering Group. We currently import primarily from our own fields and production facilities in Chile, with additional partnerships in Peru. We have our own production in South Africa and a project is currently in the start-up phase in Namibia. In terms of exports, we mainly export to Germany and Austria, utilizing our strong local presence. We also export to Spain and Italy through our global berry division within Gemüsering, while Herbert Widmann handles exports to Austria, Switzerland and other regions in Eastern Europe.

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Do you have any comments on the state of the blueberry industry in Germany? Are there any challenges that the industry is currently dealing with?

The choice of variety is certainly an important topic of discussion among industry players. Over the last few days, we have had discussions with various customers and it is clear that sourcing the best possible varieties available on the market is a high priority. As far as climate change is concerned, phenomena such as El Niño can have a significant impact, even if the direct effects are not exclusively attributable to it. Last year, for example, we experienced the effects of El Niño, which led to reduced production volumes and subsequently affected production dynamics. As far as Germany’s reaction to the El Niño effect is concerned, there was a noticeable impact on imports in particular. Our importing companies, including Global Berry and Nordgemüse, felt the effects. Despite the continued high volume, there were notable changes in price dynamics. Prices rose significantly, by around 50 %, as production in Peru fell by 30 to 40 %. These volume and price fluctuations have affected the entire global market and influenced demand and earning dynamics. While we continue to respond to market conditions and ensure a constant supply, the earnings situation remains stable despite the shifts in prices and production volumes.

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What makes Herbert Widmann stand out compared to other players in the industry?

We are looking for opportunities for improvement, such as improving packaging and expanding our range of varieties. We have also launched our own breeding project in Spain. The aim is to develop high-quality varieties that are specifically tailored to the German market and beyond, covering production at home and abroad. When it comes to what sets us apart in the berry industry, one aspect that stands out is our extensive production base on three continents, or 7 different countries: Chile, Namibia, Germany, Austria, Spain, South Africa and Romania. This gives us complete control over the entire supply chain, from production to import. In addition, we have a state-of-the-art storage and packaging facility in Hanover, Germany. With a capacity of 8 to 9 containers per day, we offer customized packaging options to meet the different requirements of our customers.

How do you utilize data within the company? 

The use of data is a crucial aspect of our business. Our product managers play a key role in guiding our decision-making process. They analyze forecasts and monitor demand, export and import statistics on a weekly basis. This information enables us to anticipate market trends and make informed decisions about our production and sales strategies. By staying one step ahead of forecasts, usually three to four weeks in advance, we can effectively manage our flow of goods and ensure a steady supply of products to meet consumer demand. This proactive approach is particularly important during the overseas season, when we often need to plan several weeks in advance. Overall, the strategic use of data enables us to optimize our processes.

In our ‘Interviews’ series, we work to tell impactful stories by collaborating with leaders in the industry. Feel free to take a look at the other articles by clicking here.

All pricing for domestic US produce represents the spot market at Shipping Point (i.e. packing house/climate controlled warehouse, etc.). For imported fruit, the pricing data represents the spot market at Port of Entry.

You can keep track of the markets daily through Agronometrics, a data visualization tool built to help the industry make sense of the huge amounts of data that professionals need to access to make informed decisions. If you found the information and the charts from this article useful, feel free to visit us at where you can easily access these same graphs, or explore the other 21 commodities we currently track.

Written by Sarah Ilyas

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