Patrick Ruffert, Märkische producer and marketing organization GmbH (MEV):

"In principle, club varieties will work, but don't overwhelm the consumer"

Club varieties have become an integral part of the apple market, and each year there are new varieties, intent on conquering the market. Every brand tries to generate the individual added value of the product. However, consumers should always stick to the apple of their desire," says Patrick Ruffert, Managing Director of Märkische Erzeuger- und Vermarktungsorganisation GmbH, based in Brandenburg.

However, especially in climatically challenging years like this, club varieties will create a high added value for the producers. "Basically, I see a growing need for club varieties in cultivation in the East Germany region, but it always depends on the club's concept, and you really have to have a good club strategy and a very good variety to get your business aligned." In his opinion, a well-established, exciting brand is an incentive to buy repeatedly. In times of digitization, however, the flood of information that affects consumers is sometimes too much of a good thing.

At the firm, they are currently focusing is on club apple Evelina®: "For us, the Evelina® is a very good apple to cultivate; with its robust foundations it can withstand climate challenges well and still produce outstanding qualities convincingly, thus increasing the profits."

"In terms of quantity a good year, but pricing not satisfactory"
This year's harvest is now over for all varieties, yet Ruffert has mixed feelings about the past year: "The year was marked by a wet spring, optimal flowering weather, but overall unfortunately the lack of rain was a big challenge. We had to irrigate more than usual, as crops without irrigation would have suffered from the long-lasting drought."

The harvest yields were relatively large. "After the frost in 2017, the amount of apples harvested this year is again at a record high throughout Germany and Europe, which of course results in a high available volumes."

At Christmas time and at the beginning of the new year, Ruffert traditionally expects an increase in demand. "Falling temperatures are conducive to apple sales, and we can clearly see that as soon as it gets cooler outside, the consumer will buy more apples. The apple also is linked to Christmas, so we think we'll have a good thing going in the next two weeks," said Ruffert.

Märkische producer and marketing organization GmbH
The Märkische producer and marketing organization with its headquarters in Brandenburg Wesendahl is an amalgamation of -at present- 10 producing members from the federal states of Saxony, Saxonia-Anhalt, Thuringia and Brandenburg. The main crops are apples, followed by pickled cucumbers, sweet cherries, sour cherries, prunes, red cabbages, aronia and strawberries.

Of course, the apple will keep us busy throughout the year. We have our own warehouses in Brandenburg, Saxony and Thuringia, with a capacity of 20,000 tons in total. The goods will be sooner or later come through our headquarters in Wesendahl, 20 km to the east of Berlin. There they are packed and marketed."

The member companies of the company not only produce fresh goods, but industrial goods for processing as well. First in this segment are the cucumbers, which are cultivated by two growers in the Spreewald, and are largely sold to the local processing industry. "In addition, sour cherries, aronia and other berries are grown for the industry."

Goods for the processing industry
"In the case of industrial goods, the influence from abroad is increasingly noticeable, and in most cases, processed food does not have a declaration of its origin." In this regard, Ruffert hopes that legislature will intervene. "We want consumers to know that our fruit or vegetables are from Germany, so our products can be more clearly differentiated from those that are coming in from other sources."

In the case of industrial goods, the problem is that the prices from the growers from abroad can hardly be rivalled. There, the circumstances of the cultivation are often quite different; the wages are often lower, as are the production costs. So these countries can produce goods much more cheaply. "This could become a problem for us in the future; one or more varieties could disappear, in Germany."

Fruit Logistica 2019
"We have been present at Fruit Logistica in Berlin for many years, in Hall 20. Here, visitors can always find us, with in the spectrum of German producer organizations, with whom we present ourselves. Each of us however, will have his our own stand."

Visit the joint stand of the company and the BB fruit trade at the upcoming Fruit Logistica, from February 6 to 8 in Berlin, in hall 20, booth A-12.

For more information:
Patrick Ruffert 
Märkische Erzeuger- und Vermarktungsorganisation GmbH
Dorfstraße 37
D-15345 Altlandsberg OT Wesendahl
Tel: +49 (0)3341/ 31954

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