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Opportunity for joya® apples
Low volumes will mean high demand for French apples
“The demand for french apples this year is quite exceptional”, says Marc Peyres from Blue Whale, a French growers co-op. The frost damage experienced in northern Europe means that by the end of the season this year, there will be 3 - 4 million tonnes less fruit available than last year in Europe .
“Since early November we have had high volumes, so we have had to increase our prices to reduce demand," says Marc. “We simply cannot supply everyone.”
He says there will be a lot of pressure on them over the next five weeks. “At the moment, early season, premium grade, expensive varieties have been selling more or less at the same price as last year – which was quite good,” remarks Marc.
“There has, however, been a sharp increase in price for the other varieties. All our varieties are selling well. There is higher demand than usual for all of them, in terms of volume and price.” Marc foresees that prices will increase even further in the next few weeks.
Blue Whale has almost 20 varieties of apples. One of these is the well-known Gala. Marc says, “This variety was impacted by frost more than other varieties this year in Europe. But in France, the crop volume is equal to last year. The sizes are slightly smaller, but we are selling at a 25% higher price in France than last year so far.”
He says that the Golden varieties are also selling well. One of their lesser-known varieties, the Canada Gris “is selling at never-before-seen prices in countries like Spain, Portugal and France.”
“At present, we have are developing varieties like the Joya. This project was started ten years ago, volumes were quite low so far”, says Marc. “A few years ago we decided to start again, but with higher volumes. We are going to start selling bigger volumes of this late season apple this year," he says.
“There is a niche in the market for good quality, late season apple variety. This is a very good opportunity to have a very good apple on the shelves from March / April to the end of the season, in June / July.”
The Joya, which Marc says is a local, good tasting variety will replace Galas, Reds and Goldens that have been in storage for a long period. “These are not always the best quality," he admits. “In the second half of the season, there are also often apples from overseas on the market that have been at sea for a month.” He expects the Joya will fill this gap in the market.
“This year is an opportunity to introduce new varieties to our customers”, says Marc. “This will be the challenge in the apple sector over the next few years - how to market and promote all these new varieties.” Marc Peyres says Blue Whale are also introducing three other varieties, the Blue Reine, which was developed in France; the Liliblue, which is a new Fuji variety; and the Novablue, a new Gala variety, over the next few years.
Another new variety, the Kissabel, red flesh apple, was launched at this year’s Fruit Attraction. It is a project in partnership with other growers from all over the world. “We are planting the first orchard, with limited volumes, this winter. The apples will only be available in three years’ time.” Another big project for Blue Whale will be their organic range. “We have planned 350 hectares, so it is a big project for organic apples”, says Marc.
Blue Whale already exports to more than 80 countries. Marc admits that the demand from countries in northern Europe, like Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Scandinavia is slightly higher this year. “This is because of the lack of local fruit," says Marc. “In January we are expecting more demand from eastern European countries like Poland.”
“We are lucky this year," Marc says. “Every year is different. What happened in northern Europe can happen to us next year.”
For more information:
Blue Whale SAS
Tel: +33 5 63 21 56 56
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