Apple production in Italy’s Val Venosta might be 20 per cent lower than last year due to the widespread spring frost, but for two companies marketing club apple Ambrosia, the prospects for a good start to the season remain rosy.
Since 2013, Piedmont-based group Rivoira and South Tyrolean cooperative VI.P Val Venosta have grown the variety under a Europe-wide exclusive licence.
“The very warm summer and a lack of rain has obviously had an effect on the average size, which will be slightly smaller as for the other varieties,” predicts Rivoira’s executive manager Marco Rivoira, “but we think the market will adapt to the situation thanks to the product’s intrinsic quality and the general lack of European apples.”
Last year, the companies apparently enjoyed a positive response to the launch of Baby Ambrosia, smaller-sized apples sold in 1kg bags for the domestic market and in 18kg packs for export. “So we’re not worried about having a larger quota of product at this size,” Rivoira adds.
Fabio Zanesco, commercial director of VI.P, says the South Tyrolean Ambrosia crop will in fact be larger this season as new plantings come into play. “Today our contribution remains below its potential because of the spring frosts, but anyway we will have good sizes because the summer heat had a lesser impact in our mountain regions and there was enough water.”
The first new-season shipments of Ambrosia out of Piedmont are on the way to a number of different markets this week, while Val Venosta’s harvest will begin towards the middle of October.
The new campaign is unlikely to see major expansion as far as international clients are concerned given the comparative lack of product, but Ambrosia and another of the partners’ shared varieties, Golden Rosé, means the partners’ commercial strategy will continue to focus on clients in Italy, Europe and beyond.
“It seemed like a natural choice to focus on consolidating our sales this season,” Zanesco explains,” even if there is the opportunity to work with some new customers with volumes that will we will reserve on a joint-venture basis.”
Zanesco is keen to point out that consolidation doesn’t mean the partners will stop thinking about the future. “We have several innovations to present soon in terms of packaging, distribution and communication,” he reveals.
“Ambrosia will continue to grow in the coming years. We are confident that many other buyers and distributors will gradually join us to expand Ambrosia’s reach and to offer it to consumers in a larger number of national and international outlets.”