This week’s organic BioFach trade fair gives Italian apple consortium VOG a chance to highlight its range of organic apples and other sustainability initiatives

Organics have been integral to the development of VOG for the last 30 years, with organic apples now accounting for 10 per cent of the area cultivated by the Italian consortium’s growers.

Annual production of organic apples now exceeds 35,000 tonnes, grown in a dedicated area of South Tyrol by 300 member producers and exported to 40 countries, including Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Benelux, as well as to the Middle East and Asia. 

“The VOG product range, able to meet market demand 12 months a year, includes the Bio Marlene and Biosüdtirol brands,” the consortium stated, “as well as successful brands like Pink Lady Bio and Kanzi Bio and the more recent Giga, RedPop and Cosmic Crisp, three next-generation apples suitable for organic farming and ideal for the second half of the season.”

The group’s assortment also includes exclusively organic brands like Natyra, Topaz, Pilot, Gold Rush and Bonita.

“Today’s organic market has plenty of potential but is also competitive,” said Klaus Hölzl, sales manager of VOG. “For this reason, straightforward organic products are no longer enough for modern consumers; they want brands that guarantee value, quality and freshness, and with which they can identify. Our range meets these needs, enabling us to offer apples suitable for different consumers and lifestyles but always of the utmost quality and from a closely controlled production chain.”

The development of VOG’s organic business forms part of a broader approach to sustainability, the consortium stated.

Walter Pardatscher, CEO of VOG, explained: “We are active in various areas, beginning with our participation in the Sustainapple project, which involves all players in the South Tyrolean apple production chain with the aim of guaranteeing a form of development in harmony with nature and the environment, also in accordance with the goals of the UN 2030 Agenda. Moreover, many of our members are small family-run farms intent on leaving their children and grandchildren a healthy and liveable region where they can construct their futures in harmony with the surrounding environment.”

For years, the consortium has invested in photovoltaic energy, with systems fitted to the roofs of packhouses to reuse the clean and cheaper energy generated by 300 days of sunshine in South Tyrol.

Multiple projects have also been launched to make product packaging sustainable and to reuse processing waste, with apple residues now being reused in the production of paper, cardboard and packaging, or for producing energy and fertiliser.

“Improving the impact of your activities on the environment isn’t something you can improvise, it requires cooperation, research and a lot of dedication,” explained Pardatscher. “From planning which varieties to plant, which enables us to select the right apple for different production requirements and climatic conditions, to circular economy projects and through to energy and water efficiency, we are ready to rise to the challenge of sustainability also thanks to the unyielding support of our producers, partners, customers and consumers.”