AFRU group on the Italian stone fruit campaign:

"Export of Italian stone fruits is getting less and less every year"

In the growing regions of Italy, the stone fruit campaign has now gradually begun. Although it will take a while before the first large quantities arrive in German trade, the first peaches, apricots and nectarines from Italian cultivation have already been marketed. FreshPlaza talked to the management of the AFRU Group with locations in South Tyrol and Munich about the current forecasts and the long-term trends around Italian stone fruit.

Despite some alarming news, hailstorms and rainfall in Italy have not had a major impact on stone fruit yields, at least for peaches, nectarines and apricots, says sales manager Hansjörg Bampi. "While yields will be somewhat lower in certain growing areas, we expect a normal season. At a national level, the drop-off is small. However, the harvest is delayed somewhat by the wet and cold. There are already goods, but not in market relevant quantities for export. But this is quite normal: The season opener usually takes place between May 30 and June 10."

Spring cherries: default rates of 80 percent
The difficult weather conditions, however, to have a much greater impact on the cherries. "There will be not many cherries shipped, this season. For the early varieties we can already see a 80% loss. It should be noted, however, that within the European trade, Italian cherries have not been very crucial for several years now. "The competition of Spain, Turkey and Greece is just too big. At the beginning of the season, the price difference is sometimes around 2 Euro / kg. "

Export is less
Normally, the season starts with nectarines and peaches, with the smooth-shelled nectarines clearly ahead, Bampi knows. "Nectarines account for about 80% of the marketed amount. The consumption of peaches is less as well, year on year. I also believe that peach cultivation here in Italy will significantly be reduced in the next 10 years. Italian peaches cannot prevail against the Spanish flat peaches either." For other fruits, the starting position is much better. Pears, for example. "Here we are well positioned in terms of the extent of production as well as the diversity of varieties. The forecasts for the upcoming campaign are good, although there will be fewer goods."

For the first time in the assortment: Pepino melons
Very important for the AFRU group of companies is the distribution of quality brands, such as Pepino Gold for fruit and Violettas`Garden for vegetables. Among these labels are exclusively premium products -primarily apples- kiwi and grapes. "We will pay a special attention to product quality and maturity and therefore we work with selected contract manufacturers. For the first time this year, we are selling Pepino Gold melons of the exclusive Red Falcon variety. Since the beginning of this month, the early products are harvested in Sicily, and within a few weeks production they will be transferred to northern Italy. Due to the cold weather, sales were not as we had hoped, but it has been picking up again for a few days now," says Bampi.

Guarantee year-round delivery
The AFRU group of companies consists of trading company Andergassen Fruits (snc) in South Tyrol and the AGRU Vertriebs GmbH with its seat in Munich. It mainly supplies wholesale customers and wholesale markets throughout Germany, as well as retail chains and export customers throughout Europe. "We continue to focus on the Italian fruit and vegetable ranges. In addition, we also deliver seasonal products from our Polish and Austrian partners. The basic idea is that we absolutely want to be able to deliver apples all year round, and grapes for at least six months, says CEO Thomas Geier in conclusion.

For more information:
Andergassen Fruits SNC
GF: T. Geier & K. Cappelletti 
Via Galvani 23/8
I-39100 Bolzano (BZ)
Telephone: +39 0471 97 75 08
Fax: +39 0471 98 14 58 

Afru Group Vertriebs GmbH
GF: E. Grimm
Schäftlarnstrasse 10, d-81371 München
Telephone: +49 89 76 73 65 77
Fax: +49 89 76 70 44 07. 

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