Importhaus Wilms: “Building brands is the goal”

It is the most efficient distribution platform for premium food brands. Italian food is still dominant in their portfolio. Currently value for money is key to win over German retail
Importhaus Wilms: “Building brands is the goal”

For more than 73 years Wilms has brought innovative foods and concepts to the German market. The company is the leading independent distribution platform for food specialties in Germany with a focus on fine food, confectionery and organic food. As a part of Zertus Group, Hamburg/Germany, it is still a family owned business.


The backbone of our enterprise is not only our proprietary sales force supported by our marketing department, but also our proprietary logistic/distribution center”, states at Markus Krick, Director Business Development & Strategy Importhaus Wilms.

Fully employed by us, we are able to set priorities to excellently execute product launches/consumer promotions and to build and support high class distribution. In retail – for instance – we visit more than 6,000 stores directly on a regular base. In addition to retail we cover nationally all relevant sales channels for food/beverages such as discount, department stores, cash & carry, foodservice, convenience, drugstores and pharmacy wholesale. For many years we market and distribute successfully world class brands such as Reese’s (Hershey), Maille (Unilever), Mazzetti (ABF), Monini, La Baleine (Salins du Midi), Lacroix (GBfoods), Kettle (Valeo Foods), Darbo, Power System and Dextro Energy but also regional brands such as bioZentrale and Kaba/Suchard Express (Carambar & Co.). In all these specialty categories we enjoy market leadership status.

Markus, what are the most interesting consumer food trends right now in your country? Does Italian food & beverage respond to these trends? Is still Italian food & beverage appreciated in your country?

Main trend over the last years was and is plant based, esp. plant based protein. Italian food and beverage products are renowned for their quality and heritage and sometimes Italian food industry is also the trailblazer setting new trends. Although the plant based movement was not born in Italy, many products perfectly match with this trend as they always were plant based and vegan as well (e.g. pasta, olive oil). Overall Italian food is by far #1 in Germany when it comes to ethnic cuisine, followed by Greek and Chinese cuisine.

What is the role of Italian f&b in your company? Do you handle many Italian products and brands?

Italian food plays a dominant role within our fine food portfolio but we do not distribute beverages. We currently distribute six different Italian brand ranges, furthermore our organic brand bioZentrale sources some of its products in Italy as well. 

Are there Pdo and/or Pgi products products in your made in Italy offer? Which of these are most in demand in your country? 

Of course we offer Pdo and Pgi products as well but usually these products play a minor role within the channels we focus on. Our main volume is on Pgi products.

How do you select and source Italian products to be included in your offering? What kind of requirements are you looking for in your suppliers?

Uniqueness, quality and trust are the three factors that influence the perception of authenticity. Hence we always seek for authentic brands and products at a reasonable price. Pricing in Germany is always important as Germans do not seek for cheap products but for value. 

Germans are even willing to pay a higher price if they perceive a good ratio between the price to pay and the value they receive in return.

Have you recently introduced any new features in your Italian f&b offer?

Launching new products is a process that never stops. Recently we launched “L’Olivia” organic pitted olives from Monini, packed in pouch. They perform pretty well.

How is your made in Italy food and beverage offer structured? 

We focus on certain segments only as we want to obtain a relevant market position in the segments we are active. We perform very well in the segments of olive oil and vinegar but also in snacking and sauces. Our main brands are Mazzetti D’Altavilla, Monini, Primoli, Rainieri, Le Chiuse and Granforno.

Do you have ranges of Italian private label products? 

For more than 73 years we focus on brands only and we do not consider to leave this path. Nevertheless, in general, Germany is quite an interesting market for Italian private label, both in retail and discount.

Do you carry out in store or above the line marketing and promotional initiatives concerning Italian f&b? 

Beside authentic brands and products we always offer innovative and attractive promotions that help our trade partners not only to sell our Italian brands but also to use our iconic brands to differentiate from competition. 

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