Italy: Apple market heavy yet manageable

The apple market situation is rather heavy, although destocking is going well. The organic segment is growing, but it could slow down over the next few years. FreshPlaza talked about this with Fabio Zanesco, sales director at VI.P, and Gerhard Eberhöfer, sales manager at Bio Val Venosta.

Gerhard Eberhöfer and Fabio Zanesco.

"Volumes are substantial this year, but everything is proceeding as expected. Prices are currently low and unfortunately producers will not always be paid what they hoped for. It is what it is, all we can do is go forward. We will have the first information regarding the next season in less than a month and we will know how it will end in another five months," explains Zanesco.

"Some varieties like Red Delicious and Kanzi® are doing well, while others are not doing so good. We are also trying to open up the Asian market, but it is not a market for large volumes yet, it is just a niche. Other foreign destinations are performing well, although Italy now absorbs 55% of our sales."

"In the near future, only those working properly will be able to survive. Quality is one of Mela Val Venosta's fundamental values and the cooperation between suppliers and retailers is the only way to find effective tools to retain consumers and meet their needs."

How long will the organic sector grow for?
"In the case of organic productions, the risk is to have too many operators. It is an entirely different segment and players are also different," adds Eberhöfer.

"The organic sector is growing a lot. We are converting additional hectares but we will not be the only ones, so we expect things to slow down. We are very proud of our quality at the moment. Our Golden apples will be available until September, while the Jonagold and Idared varieties will be available until July and Pinova until June. Organic Kanzi® Bio apples will be available until early June. Gala apple quantities ended in March."

The balance between new and traditional varieties
Associazione delle Cooperative Ortofrutticole della Val Venosta is assessing new cultivars. Results are satisfactory at the moment, but it is still early to have real data as regards their entry on the market.

"We must create the right balance between traditional and new varieties. We need to keep in mind that the desires of consumers in terms of appearance and flavor change constantly. Apple variety assortments are also ever-changing, so we need to create the right approach in stores," concludes Zanesco.

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