The market for local produce is booming in Europe in the time of Corona. Consumers are increasingly interested in fresh, healthy food and domestic supply gives a sense of security, with closed borders and more difficult transport conditions. Chicory, a vegetable that can also be grown year-round in Switzerland, has benefited from this boom. We spoke to Fabian Etter, of Gamper & Co. Gemüsekulturen, from Stettfurt in Switzerland, about the current market situation.
“We were lucky in the situation that our main customer base is in the retail sector. This has done very well despite the Corona crisis – or rather, because of the Corona crisis,” says Etter.
The team at Gamper & Co. Vegetable Crops
Consumers are coming back
“We have definitely experienced a certain return of consumers to local products as a result of Corona. The fact that local chicory is available all year round without interruption is certainly a good selling point. Whether this new run on local products will last as a trend remains to be seen. Unfortunately, people tend to forget such things quickly,” the expert says about the past year.
Supply and demand for chicory are currently balanced. The Christmas holidays were ‘on and off’: “Towards Christmas, it was very quiet for a long time. At the last moment before the holidays, sales picked up strongly. Overall, we were satisfied with the Christmas business. Between Christmas and New Year, however, it was very quiet and sales at New Year were below our expectations. Currently, the market situation is healthy.”
Joint promotion of chicory consumption
Chicory is not yet as well known or popular, especially among younger consumers. The Swiss association of chicory producers, Swiss&Diva, has been working on this for some time. Last year, for example, tastings were held at the POS, which were well received. “We were able to launch a new packaging design for one customer. The new packaging points out how healthy, low-calorie and high-fibre chicory actually is. Most consumers are far too unaware of how healthy the vegetable actually is.”
Packaged chicory is marketed under the joint brand ‘Swiss&Diva’.
For the young audience, there are special collaborations with Swiss influencers: “Swiss&Diva is working with a young singer who is popular in Switzerland. He will bring Swiss chicory closer to the younger generation.”