September marks the beginning of the apple harvest and this means that the early variety Gala apples will be hitting stores in a few weeks. While this sounds promising, the predicted volumes for this season are much lower than they have been in previous years. This is due to the frosts that hit Poland in April, severely damaging the crops and reducing the volumes to about 40-50% of previous years. This translates into about 3 to 3.2 million pounds, compared to approximately 5 million pounds last year.
“Lower yield means lower exports and higher prices. A season’s export volumes depend on the demand of the clients. Last year the high production volume brought high client demand. Clients bought mostly apples of around 70-85 diameter size. When clients have lots of choices and options, the demand grows. Since the production is so much lower this year, we don’t know yet what the demand will be like” says Emilia Lewandowska, sales manager for the Polish company Fruit-Group.
The company is looking toward exporting to India and Dubai and Lewandowska predicts that the soon-to-be-harvested Gala apples will likely be very popular in these markets due to their sweet flavor. However, longer shipments prefer the 70-80 size apples and unfortunately, the company won’t know the size of apples nor the volume of the harvest until they actually receive the production yield. Lewandowska says: “We won’t know how big the apples will be this season, nor what the percentage of each size will be, until they are ready for harvest. At this stage it is difficult to tell what the size, color, and quality of the apples will be this season, but the apples will for sure be larger than they were in the 2018/2019 season.”
Due to the low production volumes of this season, it will be difficult for Poland to expand their markets this year. “We must first focus on providing the product to our existing customers, the customers that we have worked with in previous seasons, before we can look toward expanding to new clients. Our existing customers must be our top priority,” Lewandowska states.
This mentality can also be seen in their packaging strategies. Lewandowska expresses concern for customer demand when she says: “Eco-friendly packaging will be more expensive which means that the cost of the product will go up as well. Our blueberries are already packaged with 90 to 95% recycled plastic punnets but we still use plastic bags and trays for our apples because we are waiting to hear the customer's views before making changes that will impact the product’s pricing.”
Even though production is much lower this year, the company is still looking toward appearing at the Madrid and Berlin expositions this year. Lewandowska explains: “It must be our mission to explain the ongoing situation in Poland and keep our clients updated on our production status. Since the production this year is much lower than it was last season, the prices will be higher and we need to explain to our clients why this is the case. The exposition will be a good opportunity to connect and communicate with our clients.”
For more information:
Tel: +48 603 303 488