New Zealand fresh produce company Enza and two of Italy’s largest apple marketing organisations, Vog and VI.P, have unveiled plans to develop production and sales of the proprietary branded apple variety Envy across Europe.
The project is aimed at growing sales of the variety in all of the world’s major markets, with a primary focus on Europe and North America. Additional production in Spain and France involving Enza and a local partner could also be announced shortly.
With the first commercial volumes of Envy grown in Italy’s main apple region South Tyrol arriving in the market over the past few weeks, Vog and VI.P revealed they were planning to plant around 370,000 trees over 110ha in the country by 2016, eventually contributing as much as 7,000 tonnes per year to an annual crop of more than 100,000 tonnes worldwide.
Vog and VI.P have been handed the task of marketing Envy in Italy, while Enza’s European division, based in Belgium, will handle the marketing of Italian-grown Envy sold in central and northern Europe. Worldwide Fruit will perform the same role in the UK, and it is expected that any Spanish or French licensees would likewise take care of marketing in their respective countries.
Marc Le Prince, Enza’s European manager, said that despite Envy’s early reputation as a sweet apple aimed primarily at markets in Asia – in contrast to its sibling variety Jazz – he expected Envy to do well in several European countries, and not just those in the south of the continent.
To that end, production in the Northern Hemisphere is set to exceed 60,000 tonnes by 2020, by that point outnumbering volumes grown in the Southern Hemisphere by just under 50 per cent.
“The Northern Hemisphere will be more important in terms of production, especially as we see a lot of potential in the US,” he commented, referring to Enza’s plan to have production of more than 43,000 tonnes in the US within six years.
“At first, I think we will target southern [European] countries like France, Italy, Spain and maybe Portugal, but we know that there are plenty of people moving around Europe and tastes are changing. Even in Germany, we are selling a lot of Fuji and Gala, so we could even sell some Envy in Germany too.”
Asked if that would necessitate growing Envy in Germany itself, Le Prince responded: “Yes, we are aiming to plant Envy trees in Germany. At first we could think about Bodensee (Lake Constance) of course, but it’s up to Enza’s local team in Germany. What we do believe is that you have to grow close to where you’re selling the fruit. We need a German Envy.”
Gerhard Dichgans, managing director of Vog, said he was excited about the prospects for adding what he described as a much-needed super-sweet Fuji to the range of Italian apples available in the market.
“Demand for good-quality Fuji today is more than the supply, but Fuji is not a grower-friendly apple,” he explained. “Envy will add another piece in the sweet apple segment, one which is not covered in Europe today. Envy is unknown in Europe today. We see the potential but we have to demonstrate it.”