With a turnover of €7.2 billion, food retail brand SPAR holds over one third of the market share in the Austrian food retail market. SPAR Austria’s total turnover reached €15.7 billion in 2019, including contains all of its retail business. “As a full-range retailer, we see it as our responsibility to provide our consumers with sustainable, tasty food,” said Robert Schwaiger of the group’s fruit & vegetables department. SPAR’s sustainable supply chain programme for tasty produce was launched in 2016. This philosophy ensures SPAR customers a consistent taste experience without disappointment. Meanwhile, the group has developed the Frutura greenhouse, which is heated using thermal water. All tomatoes grown in the Frutura greenhouse are harvested at the right moment. “Although this involves considerable extra effort in production, our customers are willing to pay the appropriate price for unconditional quality,” said Schwaiger.
Spirit of partnership with SPAR suppliers
“One of our prime examples of our partnerships with suppliers is the one we have with Frutura, a company based in Styria, Austria. We have been working together with Frutura since its very beginnings,” said Robert. At that time, the company consisted of only three employees: its founders Manfred Hohensinner, Franz Städtler and Hans Schwarzenhofer. Today Frutura posts €300 million in turnover and has approximately 600 employees. It is one of the most innovative and successful fruit and vegetable companies in the German-speaking market.
Visionary idea in a thermal region
Frutura had the visionary idea of building a 260,000 square metre greenhouse in Styria’s thermal region, Bad Blumau. The greenhouse is heated using geothermal energy (125 degrees Celsius thermal water). This project has proved immensely helpful in enabling SPAR to increase its supply of Austrian vegetables. What makes this initiative unique is the fact that not a single litre of thermal water is wasted, as every drop is pumped back into the soil through a second borehole. This demonstrates Frutura’s pioneering spirit in resource saving and sustainable production. “We are sure that other such great projects will be developed in the future in intensive and, above all, honest partnerships with grower suppliers,” said Schwaiger.