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Mike Knowles



Cobana change reflects new demand

The company has shortened its name and is working to meet growing need for more informed, longer-term supply

Cobana change reflects new demand

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One of Germany’s best-known fruit importers, Cobana Fruchtring, has a new name. With effect from the start of November, it will be known more simply as Cobana, a subtle but nonetheless significant change that apparently reflects a more substantial reorganisation below the surface.

“We will continue all business under this shortened company name in future,” the Hamburg-based group stated, but it's also true that Cobana has had to contend with major changes in the way fresh fruit – bananas in particular – are bought and sold in the European Union.

Speaking to Eurofruit earlier this year, managing director Jürgen Bruch explained how retail clients in particular had altered their way of working and adopted a notably longer-term approach to product sourcing.

As a result, the emphasis for Cobana has shifted, requiring it to be more informed about the entire supply chain and to understand product categories better than ever.

“Planning demand has become more important,” he said. “We are collecting data from the whole supply chain as well as all historical data relating to customer demand so we can predict on a long-term basis.”

He added: “Five or six years ago, we priced bananas on a weekly basis. Now, we are often talking about one price for the whole year; and as that price is challenging, it is very important for us to have a look at everything between production and demand.”

Established in 1964 by German fruit wholesalers who wanted to pool their purchasing activity, Cobana has become one of Europe’s leading category management and procurement specialists, supplying several of Germany’s most important retail chains as well as a broad network of wholesaler customers.

Fruchtring, meanwhile, was the name of the countrywide banana supply network set up around the same time and subsequently expanded to include all other fruit and vegetables imported from overseas.

Despite the name change, both of these areas remain highly important to the group and its network of member companies.

A new website, using the shortened address, has been created, with new contact email addresses for all staff.

From now on, the group’s limited company will also operate under a new name, Cobana Verwaltungs.

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