Europe’s biggest apple supplier, Vog, says its 2020/21 campaign has got off to a strong start thanks to increased availability, a good quality crop, and low stock levels.
“For now, we are definitely satisfied with how things are going. Crop quality is excellent in terms of both organoleptic characteristics and fruit size, with both improved compared to last season,” said the consortium’s sales manager Klaus Hölzl.
“Inventory is at the planned levels and everything is going smoothly, and more or less as programmed.”
Vog is expecting a total apple crop of 510,000 tonnes, 3 per cent down on the previous year.
“The season began with practically all inventories cleared at the European level and with no particular problems in view,” Hölzl continued. “Supply from countries such as France and Spain is lower than last year, and this has been one of the factors enabling us to operate, at least until now, in a stable context and with adequate price levels.”
The consortium reported strong demand for club varieties, including Kanzi, Envy and Yellow, which are available in larger quantities this year and continue to win shelf space.
The second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic has not triggered the same level of turbulence in consumption as seen in March last year.
“This time we haven’t experienced the panic buying that occurred more or less right across Europe during the first lockdown,” Hölzl said.
“Consumers seem to have become used to the situation, and are no longer responding stockpiling. However, the general uncertainties and the question marks over the broader economy are generating stresses on the markets.”
With regard to in-store marketing activities, while it has become difficult to organise apple tastings in points of sale and at wholesale markets due to the current pandemic, the consortium is pressing ahead as planned with other projects.
“The digital competition we launched last autumn to celebrate Marlene’s 25th birthday was a great success in terms of entry numbers, with over 6,000 works submitted from 36 countries,” commented marketing manager Hannes Tauber.
“The work selected by the jury, created by Francesca Cito, will appear on stickers and packs from February. We’re sure it will provide an attractive note of colour and warmth in all greengrocery departments.”
Meanwhile, Biosüdtirol, a member cooperative based in Bolzano, will be able to supply organic apples year-round for the first time this season.
Fifty new growers have joined our cooperative, and this has expanded our production area from 650 ha to 800 ha, while at the same time the total crop has increased from 28,000 tonnes for the last sales season to 37,500 tonnes for this year,” said director Werner Castiglioni.
He said high quality and a good size profile would further stimulate demand.
“Flavour, shelf-life and innovation are all fundamental for market success,” Castiglioni continued.
“Our cooperative works continually to source new varieties and expand its assortment, adding varieties such as Natyra, Story Inored and Bonita in the last few years.
“One of our aims is to succeed in covering the summer months, to provide a seamless connection to the new crop. We will shortly be presenting three new patents that will enable us to achieve this goal.”