Laiseacker – the mobile organic farm shop.

Laiseacker is no ordinary Bioland nursery. The family business from southern Germany also delivers its natural produce to your door – simply place an order in the online shop and a Sprinter will deliver the produce to you.

Delivery service for organic produce.

Fruit and veg, milk and eggs, bread and flour, pasta and sauces, or even cleaning products and eye cream – everything that you know from a regular organic retailer is also available from the Laiseacker Bioland nursery. The difference: in addition to having their own farm shop in Nussdorf near Stuttgart, the family-run business from southern Germany also offers a delivery service. Orders can be placed either by telephone or in their online shop and the high-quality natural produce is then delivered in a crate directly to the customer's house door. To fulfil this service, the company has specially equipped Mercedes-Benz Sprinter vans.

Laiseacker on the starting line: ahead of their time.

An idea as simple as it is brilliant. And when the family-run business from Nussdorf started putting this in place, they were well ahead of their time. "Already at the end of the 1980s my parents sensed that customers were interested in having their shopping delivered to their homes," explains Tabea Sanzio who, together with her siblings and a long-standing member of staff, took over proceedings in the family-run business from 2015. In 1987, Tabea's parents Gudi and Patrick Butz, who had previously worked on a farm in the Hesse region of Germany, took over the parental business in the Ludwigsburg area near Stuttgart. "My grandfather Eugen asked them at their wedding if they wouldn't prefer to come back towards home. He worked on the Laiseacker farm until his last day," explains Tabea Sanzio.

Returning to Württemberg from Hesse.

The young married couple took him up on his request. As Gudi and Patrick Butz took over the farm 30 years ago, they took their produce to various markets just like Gudi's father Eugen Kurz before them. The Internet was only just in the starting blocks and online shops were a very faint dream in the future and nothing more. "Customers ordered either by fax or phone," recalls 27-year-old Tabea about her childhood days. Anyone who wanted to place an order, often simply placed a note for the Laiseacker driver with the list of products they wanted for the subsequent week.

 

The organic crate went online.

Tabea's parents used to fill the crates in a small barn while the bureaucratic side of the business was still done with pen and paper. Crate by crate, the farm shop and the product range started to grow. In 1995, the Bioland-branded farm switched over to working on computers. And even in terms of their online shop, the traditional company took a pioneering stance. "We didn't lose touch with our horticultural origins. We'll always have those," Tabea confirms. And in the meantime, orders can even be placed via messenger services. Alternatively you can, of course, also visit the Laiseacker farm shop in person in its idyllic surroundings.

What nowadays sounds like a smooth success story did actually meet with some resistance. At the end of the 1980s, the Butz family were convinced by the idea of growing their produce in line with the conditions laid down by the Bioland initiative and then also started delivering their products directly to customers. This led many people to think they had a screw loose. But the success they subsequently achieved is proof that they made the right choice at the time – and several other companies even followed their lead. Today, you can find organic fruit and veg in every supermarket. "The interest in organic products has long been more than just a niche market – today it's somewhat of a trend," affirms Tabea. "We went from being seen as crazy to being visionaries!"

From crazy to visionary.

In her younger years, Tabea Sanzio already headed up a company with 75 employees.

Drawbacks of the organic hype.

Tabea is, of course, very pleased with the positive development in the branch. But she's also aware of the drawbacks which the "organic hype" has brought about. "For 30 years, our company has been about sharing and living an understanding of honesty, sustainability, transparency, family consciousness, tradition and health. Those have all become catchwords which have unfortunately started being abused by millions of others."

The family-run business has started tackling this new form of competition. "We started the ball rolling with our own delivery service and won't let ourselves be pushed aside," says Tabea Sanzio. At Laiseacker, those catchwords aren't empty promises: behaving in an ethically correct way towards people and nature, working ecologically and trading fairly – those are the company's leitmotifs. Tabea formulates these aspirations in her own words: "Looking after nature and planting healthy vegetables, not creating monocultures and thereby ensuring today's variety in the fields is maintained over the long term, sticking with direct sales, remaining a family-run business and not falling victim to large chains – these are the duties we've set ourselves."

Family-run business from southern Germany with 75 employees.

Today, the family-run business employs a team of 75 people, most of whom work part-time. "This allows our colleagues to obtain a good balance between work and family." The company is like one big family. "Our work includes a diverse range of areas: horticultural work, packing the crates, running the farm shop and doing the bureaucratic work," Tabea reels off the list. And then of course, there's also the drivers who bring the goods to the customers. "Per day, we deliver to between 600 and 700 customers. Customers tend to order anything between one and 20 crates." Early in the morning at the farm, the crates are filled with the organic produce which the customers have ordered. "Every product is checked by hand: touched and looked at – only then are they put into the crate," says the young businesswoman. The crates are then loaded into the fleet of Sprinter vans for delivery to customers in southern Germany.

Because orders vary from week to week, the Laiseacker dispatcher and the drivers plan each route individually. The interesting thing is that, despite the long distances covered overall by the Mercedes-Benz Sprinters, each van drives just 0.9 kilometres on average to each customer. "That's much less than if all of our 3200 customers were to drive to regional organic farms to do their shopping," Tabea Sanzio explains. "We're very proud of this figure and would recommend anyone interested in such a service doesn't let themselves be put off by the word 'delivery'." Quite the contrary, in fact: "Having the items delivered can also be easier on the environment as opposed to being more harmful to it."

Nine Sprinters in the Laiseacker fleet.

Nine vans bear both the three-pointed star and the Laiseacker name. "The routes and the vehicles are essential to our business," says Tabea Sanzio. "We need everything to be right: the vehicles have to be reliable – fruit and veg, as well as milk and meat need to be delivered fresh to our customers and preferably by the shortest route possible for environmental reasons." Thus a conscious choice was made for Mercedes-Benz and in particular for the Sprinter equipped with a suitable refrigeration system. Tabea explains the reason: "The Sprinter gets everything right. Even the ride comfort and equipment are irreproachable."

The Laiseacker sales model.

From their own fields and into the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter.

Organic produce on wheels.

Laiseacker delivers fresh and natural produce to between 600 and 700 customers daily. 

The crates.

Early in the morning, the orders for the 600 to 700 daily customers of Laiseacker are filled into baskets.

The Sprinter guarantees freshness.

The Laiseacker Sprinters have special cooling systems in their load compartment. Thus ensuring that the natural produce stays fresh.

Photos:

Damaris Riedinger

More links to discover:

Laiseacker - www.laiseacker.de

The conversions shown were made by independent third-party providers. The providers and the conversions were not checked by Mercedes-Benz. The photos in no way serve as an evaluation by Mercedes-Benz of the provider and/or conversions in question.

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