One could say the Polish apple season started with a bit of a panic, but several months later the market seems to have balanced out. One thing nobody would have imagined back in September, is that some varieties that were abundant then, are now actually quite scarce.
A while ago, the prices of the consumption apples in Poland increased by quite a bit, as the prices for industrial apples doubled. It meant the conventional apples also enjoyed an increase in value. Emilia Lewandowska, export manager for Fruit-Group, claims that the Golden and Gala varieties remain very popular: “Most of our Gala apples make their way towards Spain, Germany, same with our Golden Delicious variety. There is a good demand for them, the weird thing is that some varieties that are popular with our clients are currently very hard to obtain. In September we could not buy all the Gala Must apples that growers tried to offer us. There were so many, but we knew we could never sell that amount and had to decline. Now, several months later it is actually very hard to get the Gala Must variety price of this variety strongly went up from the beginning of the season, so it’s a strange market.”
A solution for next season might be to take the risk and buy more apples, to save them in a cold storage room: “Growers are actually doing the same thing right now. They’ve kept quite a big amount of their stock in cold rooms, which is one of the reasons some of the varieties are so hard to get right now. Although we had expected them to open the cold room by now, a lot of them decided to wait even longer, for even better prices,” says Lewandowska.
For 2019, Fruit-Group has set some clear goals for itself. “We’re still in the process of training all the growers of our Group. We’d love to get 25% more growers who are able to produce apples containing a lower level of pesticides (maximum 5 substances on the 30% of European norms). Hopefully the growers will open their cold storage rooms in February, giving us more options in terms of distributing different kinds of varieties.” Lewandowska says.
When looking back at the start of the apple season, Lewandowska remembers the panic. “The panic has since passed, but the situation really is quite interesting. Another company that is close to us, focuses solely on industrial apples. In the past ten years, that company has never received the amount of apples it did this year. And it could have been a lot more, considering about 500 tons of the Polish apples stayed on the trees, including very popular varieties like Idared. A lot of growers tried selling Gala Must this year, next year it might take a different approach. We just need more time as an industry to see how to approach the market in the best way.”
Fruit-Group will attend Fruit Logistica in Berlin. According to Lewandowska this year could be a very special edition: “The situation in Poland right now, having the cheapest apples in Europe, might prove to be attractive for new clients. So the oversupply and low prices might in fact be a great opportunity to expand our network and meet potential buyers,” she says. “But the biggest reason to have a stand during Fruit Logistica is to meet with our known clients from all over the world. We get to speak to everyone at this great location, without having to spend loads of money on tickets to fly everyone to Poland.”
Fruit-Group SP.z.o.o. will be attending Fruit Logistica in Berlin. You can find them in the CityCube, Hall B, stand D-15.