One of Italy’s largest fresh produce companies, Apofruit Italia, has increased its involvement in the apple business by signing a partnership agreement with organic fruit supplier Bio Meran.
As a result, the South Tyrolean co-operative will become part of the Apofruit producer organisation, taking responsibility for marketing the entire group’s organic apple offer.
The acquisition is expected to create new opportunities for both groups to sell organic apples on the international market, in particular in the Middle East, southern Mediterranean, Asia and Latin America.
It also gives Apofruit access to Isaaq, a new trademarked apple variety developed by another Italian marketer, Kiku.
The two new partners will also aim to work more closely on a technical level to reduce supply chain costs, as well as developing and acquiring exclusive new varieties.
“Each of our organisations will retain its own characteristics in terms of territory and production,” commented Ilenio Bastoni, Apofruit’s general director.
“Bio Meran will simply become part of a producer organisation that is already active in many markets, while Apofruit will enjoy all of the advantages derived from the acquisition’s high level of professionalism in the biodynamic sector.”
Referring to Apofruit’s highly successful organic brand Almaverde Bio, Bastoni added that Bio Meran's so-called 'biodynamic' production – involving organic processes that are in harmony with all other aspects of the fruit's environment – would take the marketer's own offer forward.
“It’s already been noted how important organics are to our group. Biodynamic is bringing further development in the sphere of agriculture that respects people and the environment,” he said.
Established less than three years ago, Bio Meran’s partnership with Apofruit will add significantly to the value of the latter’s annual sales.
“Entering into this partnership will open new markets for our apples, particularly overseas,” said Bio Meran director Franzeline Dietmar.
With annual sales of €5m, the co-operative already sells a sizeable portion of its 4,200-tonne apple crop in other European markets, mainly in Scandinavia and Spain.