For Friedhelm Wenz, whose fruit-growing business is based in Pfinztal-Söllingen, club varieties are not an issue. "As a direct marketer, I can not get permission to grow apples like Pink Lady or Kanzi," he says. "The rights holders of brand apples will sell their licenses primarily to large cooperatives or organic associations." Wenz gives fruit and vegetable sales cooperative Nordbaden in Bruchsal or sales company "Obst vom Bodensee" as an example.
The principle is this: Cooperatives buy thousands of trees of one club variety and pass them on to their members. These in turn commit to market the harvested apples via the cooperative. Hermann Meschenmoser from Agricultural Technology Center Augustenberg (LTZ) in Karlsruhe-Grötzingen explains the principle: "Thanks to a limited number of producers, the rights holder can control supply and demand - and thus drive up the price."
The expert has had a critical look at this system: "Of course It is positive if a fruit grower gets back more than just 30 cents per kilo for his apples." The year 2018, which saw a good harvest, should have seen prices go down. "On the other hand, the producer is of course very much a dependent," says Meschenmoser.