issue march 2024


You could hardly describe it better than the French writer and author Guy de Maupassant (1850 - 1893). Paul M. Müller is also all about encounters. Want some examples? With pleasure: The exchange with you - always respectful, at eye level, constructive. We also live and love working together as a team; everyone plays their part in ensuring that we are successful, that we survive in the market and that everything runs smoothly, both on a small and large scale. I am convinced that people are and will remain the biggest economic lever - with their drive, their ideas, their commitment...

So it goes without saying that people are increasingly the subject of this Food News: Managing Director Fabian Kretschmer, for example, who recently celebrated his 10th anniversary with the company. You can also read an interview with our newest team member Joseph James Dy. He grew up in the Philippines and has quickly become our data hero. And, because you can't do without facts and figures in the business world, we present interesting figures about our women in the company and our average age of all employees. You can also look forward to our interview with Diana Uschkoreit, Managing Director of BellandVision. She has a great reputation in the industry and is an absolute expert in the field of recycling. And - surprise: anyone who has been working with us for a while will also find a familiar face. One year after we said goodbye to Martina Schulke on her retirement, we met up with her again.

Alongside all this good news, we are of course also aware of the challenges - local, regional and global. As always, we have therefore summarized the most important information for you when it comes to canned fruit, pineapple, tomatoes and tuna. I would also like to take a look at a recent survey by the Dehoga Federal Association: Turnover in the hospitality industry has still not reached pre-corona levels. 2024 has started with a decline in sales for the industry - with nominal sales 10.2 percent below the previous year's figure. The renewed increase in VAT on food from 7% to 19% has certainly contributed to this. On the other hand, the year is still young and spring is just around the corner. Let's remain optimistic and focus on what makes life worth living - meeting people. And preferably in a restaurant, beer garden, bar or café. Because I am convinced that enjoyment, good food and good company are not just a lever for our economy, but a real attitude to life.

Yours sincerely, Thomas Schneidawind


No price trends so far

In previous years, we have already been able to provide initial information and trends on price negotiations for each year's tomato harvest in our March issue of Food News. Not this time. Although the plants are about to be planted, we are not yet aware of any raw material prices for the 2024 harvest - so it remains exciting and we will keep you up to date as soon as we know more. And: No matter which tomato products you currently need - we are well stocked in our warehouse to take your order. Until the new summer harvest, we can also draw on remaining stocks of tomato paste and chopped tomatoes from Spain and Portugal. This is because, while the corresponding bulk goods are practically sold out in Italy, there are (still) surpluses there.

Tomatoes: No price trends so far


Prices are rising

The Thai Food Processors Association (TFPA) is currently reporting continued unusually dry weather and a premature harvest season in February as a result. The estimated annual volume for 2024 for pineapples from Thailand is currently 730,860 tons - which would be 7% higher than in the previous (very gloomy) harvest year. Nevertheless, there is disillusionment. This is because the TFPA originally expected the harvest to be 15 percent better than in 2023. In recent weeks, the raw material prices for pineapples have therefore risen further to between 11.50 and 12.50 Thai baht per kilogram. In comparison: In February 2023 it was 8.30 and in mid-January 2024 still 10.20 to 11.80 Thai baht per kilogram.

Pineapples: Prices are rising


Canned fruit:

Sometimes too hot, sometimes too cold

Looking at the weather situation in Europe, fruit growers are feeling the strain. For example, let's take a look at GreeceFirst the disproportionately warm temperatures at the beginning of the year, then the ongoing concern about night frosts... The problem: due to temperatures of up to 19 degrees at the end of January, the flowers did not get their necessary winter rest and fears of a resulting reduced harvest were raised. Now - almost two months later - possible night frosts pose a threat to the delicate flowers. Incidentally, these are also in Italy currently feared. This is because at such low temperatures, the blossoms, which are well developed during the day due to the high temperatures, can freeze, which would have a negative impact on fruit formation and harvest volumes. The risk of night frosts decreases by mid-April, meaning that more accurate forecasts for canned fruit from Europe are then possible.

Canned fruit: sometimes too hot, sometimes too cold

"The current draft of the EU Packaging Regulation will present us all with major challenges."

- Diana Uschkoreit -
Diana Uschkoreit has been at the helm of BellandVision since July 2020. She had previously worked at the service company with a focus on recycling for 18 years and held the role of Sales Director. In an interview with Paul M. Müller, she talks about the EU Packaging Regulation, Germany's pioneering role and how costs are developing.

PMM: Ms. Uschkoreit, Germany was a pioneer in waste separation, collection and recycling with the introduction of the Green Dot in 1992 - is that still the case today after 32 years?
Over the last 30 years, the dual system, as well as the entire sorting and recycling infrastructure in this country, has developed continuously and we are able to achieve some of the highest recycling rates in Europe for a wide range of packaging materials. We also regularly receive requests for advice from opinion leaders from abroad who are trying to understand the complexity of our successful model and transfer it to their national structures.

PMM: The Packaging Act has been in force since 2019: what are the lessons learned?
After almost 30 years of the Packaging Ordinance, it was high time to raise packaging recycling in Germany to a higher standard. The higher recycling rates acted as a kind of catalyst for the entire waste disposal and recycling industry and considerable investments were made in the infrastructure. This was also necessary in order to achieve the ambitious recycling rates. What I would like to point out, however: It cannot be right that on the one hand the dual systems are required to achieve recycling rates of 90 percent, but on the other hand their work is thwarted by new legislation. The extension of the deposit obligation, for example, has removed high-quality packaging from the dual systems' volume flow, which makes it considerably more difficult to achieve the recycling rates.

PMM: What has improved?
Thanks to the higher recycling rates, even more resources can be saved and CO2 emissions can be reduced even more than before. In Germany, packaging recycling saves almost 2 million tons of CO2 every year and produces around 4 million tons of secondary raw materials from used packaging, which in turn can be used for new packaging or products. Another advantage is the greater market transparency. The introduction of the Central Agency Packaging Register control authority has significantly increased the number of manufacturers participating in the dual system and created good conditions for fairer competition - also on the part of the dual systems.

PMM: Where will we be in ten years when it comes to packaging?
The Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation (PPWR) is currently working on a uniform recycling standard for the EU that will affect all of our work over the next 10 years. That's why I only see packaging in my crystal ball that is recyclable or contains recycled materials.

PMM: What will be the biggest challenge for the dual systems this year?
In 2019, the Packaging Act was a major upheaval for the entire industry. In comparison, however, the changes planned in the current draft of the EU Packaging Regulation are much more far-reaching. All market players will face major challenges in the coming years, particularly in the areas of recyclability, the use of recyclates and verification obligations. The timing of the so-called delegated acts, which further specify the individual requirements of the regulation and are only adopted after publication, will increase the pressure on market players. However, we are convinced that we are well positioned to meet these challenges and will master them together with our customers.

PMM: What are the trends of the future?
Current trends are definitely Design4Recycling and the use of recyclates. If you take a look at the current draft of the PPWR, it quickly becomes clear that these two topics could become essential for manufacturers in the future if they want to place packaged products on the market in the EU.

PMM: What about the availability of recyclate when the European law comes into force?
The current draft law stipulates that plastic packaging must contain at least 10 to 35% recyclate from 2030, depending on the application. Our customers are fortunate that we have strong partners behind us and can draw on the largest recycling capacities for plastics.

PMM: Why are there such big differences in the cost of tinplate between Austria and Germany?
It is fundamentally difficult to compare two fundamentally different systems. This is because the price difference for the participation of metal packaging in the national systems is partly due to the different recycling targets in the two countries. While in Austria only 50 percent of metal packaging has to be recycled, in Germany the figure is 90 percent.

PMM: How will the cost of disposing of tinplate develop in the future?
As with other packaging materials, this depends on a wide variety of factors, such as the development of logistics and sorting costs or future marketing revenues for secondary raw materials. Looking at the current recycling rates for metal packaging in Germany, the only certainty is that there is not much room for improvement.

Thank you for the interview.

For space reasons, we have shortened the interview for the market report in some places. You can find the entire interview and many more with other interesting interviewees on our website.

Personal details:
Diana Uschkoreit has been the Managing Director of BellandVision. At the time, she succeeded Thomas Mehl, who retired. Diana Uschkoreit is well known in the industry and is regarded as an expert in her field. Before taking up her post as Managing Director, she worked at BellandVision as Sales Manager and authorized signatory.

Fabian Kretschmer:

10th anniversary

Cheers to our Fabian Kretschmer! At the beginning of February, he celebrated his 10th anniversary at Paul M. Müller. Our Managing Director Thomas Schneidawind describes his junior partner as a man of his word. "With him, the handshake still counts," he says. But there's much more that sets Fabian apart. 10 years with him - 10 facts about him:

  • As a junior partner, Fabian reliably supports our Thomas.
  • He is courageous and sometimes breaks new ground.
  • Creativity? He can! And likes to think outside the box.
  • When Fabian wants a job, he is hard-working and combative.
  • He is always happy to attend our events with his sociable nature.
  • Cycling, the gym, skiing: Sport is one of his passions.
  • Fabian's other passion: his wonderful family.
  • He is super humorous - we love his cool and funny sayings
  • A real encourager! He can inspire the team and communicate his vision well
  • Honesty and loyalty are what set him apart. Just two reasons why he has enjoyed the trust of Thomas and everyone else from day one.

Trade fair marathon:

Intergastra, Biofach and Internorga

February and March were busy months for many players in the out-of-home catering sector. Three exciting trade fairs took place in quick succession: The Intergastra in StuttgartBiofach in Nuremberg and the Internorga in Hamburg. What stood out: Food trends are becoming more plant-based, sustainability is becoming more important and the industry is bursting with innovative ideas to make up for the lack of employees with the help of digitalization and smart technology.

Save the date: In our Trade fair calendar you can already find the new dates for the leading trade fairs.

Listened to:

Martina Schulke, how are you doing in retirement?

In March 2023, we said goodbye to Martina after 11 years in purchasing and sales at Paul M. Müller (and a total of 48 years of service). Now, exactly one year later, we spoke to her.

Martina, some colleagues thought that you would fall into a hole when you stopped working. Be honest: have you found that hole yet?

No, quite the opposite. I am active and enjoy my freedom to the full. For example, I walk or jog 8 to 10 kilometers a day - and I do it rigorously in all weathers. I'm often joined by friends from the local area or loved ones who visit me over a longer period of time. After I renovated the upper floor of my house last year, some of my visitors came to visit me. I also travel regularly and see my children and grandchildren, who live further away, more often again. That's just great.

You are bursting with energy. Where does it come from?

I only do things that are fun and good for me. Sometimes it's a lot, but I do it without pressure and stress - just for me. Of course, I also have relaxing days where I read or watch documentaries on TV. And: I now also cancel appointments if something really gets too much for me.

What are you looking forward to this year?

First and foremost, I'm looking forward to spring when my garden is green and blooming again - wonderful! I also started working as a tour guide at Seeon Monastery. When I was asked in the village if I would like to do it, I didn't have to think twice: I love history and the monastery anyway! In preparation, I've been reading more about history, for example in my more than 1,000 history books and novels of world literature. My diary is already filled with guided tours until July. I'm really looking forward to that!

That sounds great. Have fun, dear Martina 😊

The good news:

Cheers to our women!

Almost two weeks ago was International Women's Day - Paul M. Müller celebrates his women all year round!

This is because 13 women work at the company, compared to 9 men. This means a female quota of 59%, which is well above the average in other companies.

Incidentally, the average age of employees at Paul M. Müller is 41.4 years.

Logistics watch out:

Easter is just a week away!

Easter is already on the last weekend in March this year - so next week. During the four-day weeks (Good Friday on March 29 and Easter Monday on April 1), there is less freight space in Hamburg. Truck driving bans also apply in Italy, which may cause delays. We therefore ask you to allow a few days buffer and to inform us of your order and planning in good time. Our logistics experts Iris Wittur and Michael Picciani are happy to help with any questions.
Four weeks later, the next nationwide public holiday is coming up: May 1 falls on a Wednesday this year. Here too, we advise you to plan at least one buffer day for your logistics.

Fruit of the month:

Joseph James Dy

We have something to celebrate: Joseph James Dy has been our new colleague in IT since January 2024 - and our reliable point of contact when it comes to all kinds of data and software. In this interview, he explains how he makes our daily work easier.

Be honest, James: What does nobody know about IT?
IT - of which IT is a sub-area - is not just about the hardware to ensure that PCs, laptops, cell phones and telephones work properly. For example, I work in the background to make the work of my colleagues easier. To do this, I use our accounting data to create analyses and reports on which products are in demand, when, how often and in what quantities. All these findings are relevant for the teams in Logistics and Purchasing and Sales.

Do you have a concrete example of this?
With tuna, it becomes clear that we have to plan particularly well how much we stock in order to be able to fulfill orders as quickly as possible - after all, a spontaneous delivery from the Philippines would take several weeks. Based on my reports, my colleagues can plan well and are well prepared for last-minute requests.

Keyword Philippines: You grew up there and moved to Germany in November 2022. What differences do you notice between the countries?
Unfortunately, there are no pineapple plantations in Germany that I can walk through for hours 😉. In addition to a completely different climate and landscape, I find the basis of trust very different: In many places in the Philippines, especially in the capital Manila, people are very cautious and treat others with suspicion. In addition, peace and quiet is more important in Germany than in the Philippines. Incidentally, I am particularly grateful to Paul M. Müller for the patience that everyone shows me.

... and we are grateful that you are with us. Thank you for talking to us.

Although we consider the sources we use to be reliable, we accept no liability for the completeness and accuracy of the information provided here.

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