p38 GEN apples reading for shipping AdobeStock_417584381

A new online marketplace for fresh apples closed orders worth almost €100,000 during its first day of fixed-price commercial trading.

SmartMele, the brainchild of Italian startup eViso, was first created in February 2020, but until December 2021 was used solely for spot trading.

Now it aims to revolutionise the apple market as the world’s only platform with long-term transaction capabilities. Crucially, it says it offers a digital, legal infrastructure plus a system of guarantees that are typical of regulated, real-world markets.

The platform uses artificial intelligence to create a fully operational apple marketplace, one where buyers and sellers can now agree fixed prices for the future delivery of consignments in three, six, 12 months or more.

The first registered contract was signed between Piedmont-based producer Lagnasco Group, and international distributor Novafruit for five containers, around 100 tonnes of apples, at €88,000.

SmartMele also presents large volumes of relevant data about the US$87bn global apple market in visual form. It recently signed strategic agreements with Italian commodity price index BMTI and research foundation Agrion to secure access to that information.

“The SmartMele trading platform has made it possible, anywhere in the world, to purchase and sell containers of apples with future delivery at a fixed and agreed price,” explains eViso chief executive Gianfranco Sorasio.

“In the coming months we will focus on two fronts: on the one hand we will work to increase the number of users on the platform, both apple buyers and sellers; on the other hand, we will work on the digital operation of the platform, to ensure speed and efficiency on a large scale.”

The SmartMele business model is based on customers paying an annual fee, plus a transaction fee depending on the volume of goods traded.

A chance to plan ahead

Fabrizio Risso, president of Lagnasco Group, says his company sees SmarrtMele as an opportunity to make its apple supply business more predictable: “The whole supply chain is working to plan more and to protect itself from unexpected events.”

Luca Antonietti, chief executive of Novafruit, comments: “Novafruit has always been attentive to innovations in the fruit sector, specifically in the markets for apples, citrus, bananas and grapes. We are active on national and international markets.

“A new market has opened today where it is possible to sell and buy for the long term. Our large retailers who have been asking us for innovation and long-term planning for a long time can now benefit from a unique product on the market.

“We are confident that this new platform will have a positive impact not only nationally but also internationally. Novafruit exports Italian products to the world, and in addition also products from North America, South America and South Africa.”