Italy’s leading organic apple marketer says it has seen strong demand for its fruit in recent months across Europe

Vip BioGraphy apple packs

Vip’s new apple packs

Italian marketing consortium Vip has launched a new 100 per cent paper pack for its organic apples, as it continues to enjoy what it describes as a “very strong” commercial campaign.

The packs, which will be distributed from the beginning of March, feature a special net window made from linen that ensures the product itself remains visible to shoppers.

Vip unveiled the new packaging for its Bio Val Venosta range at the organic trade event Biofach in Nuremberg, where it underlined its commitment to the business as a leading supplier of organic apples in terms of fruit quality, volume, and market coverage.

The company currently enjoys a strong position in the market. In the autumn, its crop was 20 per cent compared with 2022, whereas its major competitors in Italy and elsewhere in Europe saw their harvests contract.

“This creates very favourable conditions for us,” explains Gerhard Eberhöfer, Vip’s organic product manager, who suggests sales are going very well too.

Five months into its latest campaign, at the end of January, its sales were reportedly 25 per cent up on the previous season.

“We got off to a very good start in November,” he continues. “After a slight decline in December, sales picked up again from the third week of January 2024, as the consumption of organic fruit has picked up again.”

One small challenge remains for Golden Delicious. The variety is particularly popular among consumers in Italy and Spain, but stocks are slightly higher than planned.

Vip Val Venosta BioFach

The Vip Val Venosta team at BioFach 2024

Year-round offer

Overall, the group’s total organic crop has increased considerably in recent years thanks to the introduction of several new varieties, to the point where it can now offer organic apples all year round.

Those varieties include Golden Delicious, on the market from September onwards; Gala, which is available from the end of August to April; and a range of organic club apples with different tastes and seasons to sustain sales through until late summer.

The latter include SweeTango, Ambrosia, Kissabel, Envy, Kanzi, and Cosmic Crisp.

Vip’s organic product manager, Gerhard Eberhöfer, says the season is on track in terms of how stored volumes have been sold and how much remains in stock.

He adds that the location of the consortium’s production – high up in Italy’s South Tyrol region – have enabled it to withstand recent climate pressures and keep supplying through 12 months of the year.

“During the hot summer of 2022,” he recalls, “our Alpine position and the ideal microclimate helped us a lot. Thanks to these conditions, which are peculiar of Venosta Valley, our apples maintain the right freshness and crunchiness and a long shelf-life.”

Vip’s main target markets are Italy and Germany, followed by countries in northern Europe, Spain, and the Middle East.