At Fruit Attraction in Madrid, Pink Lady Europe welcomed 8,000 visitors to its 72m2 100-per-cent cardboard stand, where famous pastry chef Christian Escribà was on hand to offer freshly made popsicles.
The Association was in Spain in part to discuss the forthcoming season, forecasting a crop of approximately 225,000-230,000 tonnes.
Although this represents a 15 per cent drop from last season, a result of the frost that hit Pink Lady orchards at the end of the flowering period, the apples ripening on the trees reportedly show good quality.
Pink Lady Europe was also able to communicate about its commitments charter, as well as efforts to promote its values and strengthen its image through promotional operations and a communication platform.
Pink Lady Europe's commitments charter addresses four key sustainability areas, namely the environment, producers, regions and consumers.
Commitments include the roll-out of cardboard packaging for Pink Lady and PinKids apples, expected to be fully operational by 2022, in order to eliminate the use of single-use plastics.
Pink Lady has also signed a partnership agreement with LPO, a member of the BirdLife International network for nature conservation, with the aim of 'strengthening the role of agriculture in the protection of biodiversity'.
'This partnership will give LPO access to 550ha of Pink Lady orchards to collect data on wildlife,' Pink Lady Europe stated. 'An awareness-raising programme will then be created by both parties so that Pink Lady producers can put in place appropriate agro-ecological infrastructure.'
Meanwhile, Pink LAB helps companies to develop their technology to improve the sustainability and efficiency of the production process by adapting the technology to the unique characteristics of Pink Lady cultivation.
One example is the Harvest 2021 project, including trials this autumn. 'Inspection 2.0 uses imaging technologies that serve to estimate the colouring and the size of the apples in a wooden storage box (palox),' the Association revealed. 'A Clarifuit tool, developed with the IRTA, is being trialled in a network of Pink Lady packaging plants, which will eventually make it possible to determine pack-out trends in the orchard and thus better manage harvesting operations.'
Projects for 2021/22 include a partnership with ITK, a specialist in connected services in agriculture, to build a decision support system that will provide weather forecasts, alert maps and cold maps customised to the region and the phenological stage of the variety, enabling producers to improve orchard management and anticipate risks.
'In addition, a call for proposals will be launched at the end of October as part of Pink Lady Talents to identify new techniques or technologies supported by Pink Lab,' Pink Lady Europe revealed.
On the marketing side, promotional plans are afoot for PinKids, for which a new design was launched in July, including a tie-in with The Minions, while the group's Bee Pink, Adopt A Tree and Pink Chefs programmes are set to continue.
'The Pink Lady Europe Association promises a dynamic season that will start very soon with the beginning of the harvest at the end of October and will continue until November,' Pink Lady Europe stated. 'The Association will carry on driving the industry forward on its sustainable commitments, develop its PinKids children's range, and enhance its communication platform to strengthen its existing community of consumers and attract new ones.'