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Jan Peilnsteiner of VDKL on frozen goods and international distribution

“Frozen food is a supreme discipline”

On the occasion of the partnership agreement between the Nagel-Group and Transthermos, Jan Peilnsteiner of the Association of German Cold Stores and Logistics companies e.V (VDKL) spoke about trends and developments.

Jan Peilnsteiner, Association of German Cold Stores and Logistics companies e.V.

The Nagel-Group is entering into an alliance with frozen logistics specialists Transthermos. Is this merger a good example of the ever increasing importance of distributing frozen products?

Frozen food is a supreme discipline in logistics. And with continuously increasing sales figures for frozen products, the requirements for quick distribution over a wide geographical area are also rising. This applies as much to deliveries to a petrol station or school canteen as to supplying a central warehouse for the retail trade. Reliability, precision and speed are not everything in this case – many customers also want to see the whole range of logistics services from warehousing and packing through to deliveries throughout Germany under one umbrella.

Consumer behaviour shows a trend towards buying frozen products. Are we just at the start of a fundamental shift in purchasing behaviour?

We are already in the middle of it. Over the past 10-15 years, a lot has changed. We are increasingly living in small or even single households. Leisure-time behaviour is different, and this effects cooking behaviour too: German eating habits are moving away from the Sunday roast towards quick and convenient international cuisine. Frozen food scores here, with high-quality innovative products. These are quick to prepare, and therefore offer a modern basis for varied and health-conscious nutrition.

Could this sort of development have been foreseen?

This development has been a process over many years, which has increasingly stabilised. And in parallel, manufacturers of frozen food have also successfully developed their offers further. Because ultimately the decision as to what goes into the trolley, or remains on the shelf, is made at the point of sale. Nobody buys a product a second time, if it didn’t taste good the first time, no matter how innovative it is. The success of frozen goods and frozen convenience products is therefore a customer- orientated response to the wishes of German households and major consumers.

Can any particular trends be observed in frozen food products?

The trends in the freezer cabinet in most cases reflect general trends in the food industry: organic produce is still on an upward trend, “regional” is regarded as the “new organic”, but “international” is still a key feature. Low-calorie meals, vegetarian offers and products without particular allergens are of course also available as frozen options. At the same time, sales figures show that the classic frozen pizza is still one of the most popular “feelgood” dishes enjoyed by Germans from the freezer cabinet.

Are there differences amongst European countries?

Germany is the European leader in sales of frozen food (food retail, home-delivery services, bars and restaurants etc.), with over 3.5 million tonnes. In consumption of frozen food in kilogrammes per head/year, Norway is out ahead. However, I must admit that I haven’t really figured out yet why that should be. Did you know, by the way, that a very large proportion of frozen pizzas go to Italy?

Will mergers between different companies like Nagel-Group and Transthermos be the basis in future for existing successfully in the frozen food market?

We do certainly recognise a development towards consolidation in companies. Of course, similar trends are seen in many sectors outside temperature-controlled food logistics, and the reasons for this development are very varied. In practice it is certainly a matter of what services a company’s customers expect, and what specific added value would be created by a merger. For us, as an Association, small and medium-sized enterprises, and their interests, stand on an equal footing with major firms, that is very important to us.

Headerphoto: © Peter Atkins - Fotolia.com

The Association of German Cold Stores and Logistics companies e.V. (VDKL)

VDKL is an industry association for food companies dealing in temperature-controlled storage, distribution and logistics of frozen and chilled products. Its members include logistics service-providers, industry and retail companies as well as delivery firms. In commercial cold storage operations, the Association and its members cover 80% of the whole German market. VDKL offers its members numerous services, for example professional energy management, and the financially attractive unique VDKL electricity pool throughout Germany.


Verband Deutscher Kühlhäuser und Kühllogistikunternehmen e.V. (VDKL)
Fränkische Straße 1
D-53229 Bonn
Phone: +49 (0) 228 - 201 66-16
Fax: +49 (0) 228 - 201 66-11
Mail: info@vdkl.de

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