‘For us, regional business not only means short transport routes from suppliers to our company but also to the hospitality industry and retail,’ says Angelika Schmitt, who runs Schmitt’s Kloßteig together with her husband Jürgen. ‘Our packaging also comes from regional manufacturers located nearby. The short routes are very useful because they ensure flexibility. And dealing with people personally is very important to us.’ The home of Schmitt’s Kloßteig is the town of Heroldsbach in Bavaria. A ‘Kloß’ is a type of potato dumpling typical of the region that is very time consuming to make. Back in 1982, founders Georg and Hildegard Schmitt decided to make the lives of local housewives easier. The good quality of Schmitt’s Kloßteig (dumpling mix) was soon the talk of the town and it wasn’t long before regional restaurateurs came knocking.
In 2018, the company passed to the second generation, Angelika and Jürgen Schmitt. Today, they supply over 400 business customers in a 100 km radius, as well as the METRO stores in Nuremberg. ‘The potatoes for our dumpling mix come from the Forchheim and Bamberg regions. If need be, we buy potatoes from all over Bavaria.’ Making the perfect dumpling mix requires people and machinery to work hand in hand. This is because the process calls for a great deal of experience: ‘The potatoes vary in starch content, so we have to continually adjust the other ingredients to maintain consistent product quality.’
Think global, act local: regional is trending
Regional products are all the rage right now. Why? Because their short transport routes contribute to climate protection. Also, their origins mean they have special quality features. METRO’s first global customer survey with more than 6,700 participants from 23 countries has concluded exactly that – and more. Offering local and regional products is one of the top 3 measures that restaurateurs, Traders and other METRO customers are already implementing in their businesses. METRO supports them with initiatives like ‘METRO regional. Tastes Like Home’.
At the Gut Diepensiepen estate in Ratingen near Düsseldorf, working with natural products leads to a greater awareness of responsibility. ‘Working sustainably is essential for me, and it is also our responsibility to the next generation. I want to run the farm in such a way that one day I will be able to hand over healthy, fertile and clean cropland to my children,’ says Christian Benninghoven. He runs the farm, which has been owned by the family since 1744, jointly with his wife. They mainly grow potatoes and apples for customers and end consumers within a 30 km radius. At Christmastime, families come to cut their Christmas trees themselves in the farm’s own tree nursery. Petra Benninghoven has added another string to Diepensiepen’s bow. She handles the weddings and company events that take place on the estate all year round. For example, local companies come for the apple harvest in the autumn to enjoy ‘pick your own’ and then eat apple pancakes.
‘The trend towards regionality and sustainability has not let up,’ Christian Benninghoven says. ‘So for 2 years now we have also been offering eggs from our own hens that live here free range.’ The farmer keeps the birds in small living communities, each with around 10 hens that wander freely through the estate’s apple orchards. They couldn’t be happier. Moreover, each hen is hired out to a restaurateur. For a monthly fixed rate, they receive all the eggs their hen lays, coming to the farm once a week to collect them. Since 2015, the family business has supplied METRO with potatoes; soon apples will be added to the order. The advantage here is that the Diepensiepen estate can offer its products to many more business in the region via the 13 METRO markets in the wider Düsseldorf area. ‘This is how we are working with METRO to strengthen customer relationships with local businesses.’
METRO expands local partnerships
Since the end of June 2021, locally-based producers in 5 selected METRO test markets in Duisburg, Esslingen, Hamburg-Altona, Karlsruhe (Gastro) and Nuremberg-Buch have been receiving special support. The campaign ‘METRO regional. Tastes like home’ boosts small, Germany-based manufacturers and producers with fewer than 100 employees by drawing attention to production companies in each region. Gradually, more and more regional items are being adopted into the product mix. This is how METRO is helping its customers to expand their regional range.