The apple harvest 2019 was excellent in South Tyrol - and thus offers the perfect start for the new Bio Vinschgau packing house. The mood at the Biofach stand was correspondingly positive, last week in Nuremberg, where Gerhard Eberhöfer answered our questions.
"Organic has long been an important part of agriculture in the Vinschgau Valley and this will remain so in the future. In September we therefore also opened a new organic packaging facility, in which we will pack 35,000 tons of apples in the 2019-20 season." Over the next five years, the company is planning an annual growth of 10-20% to reach 50,000 tons of organic apples.
"We want to be the market leader in Europe with our organic apples. Of course, this requires quantities, but quality and service are more important to us. For us, this concept also includes sustainability," says Eberhöfer.
The company's producers follow strict guidelines: "Membership of the association is obligatory for us - 95% of the producers work according to Bioland standards, the other 5% according to Demeter. EU organic is not enough for us." This also includes protecting the habitat of fruit-growing facilities, ensuring biodiversity and providing ecological compensation areas.
Cartonboard packaging trend
Apples in cardboard boxes are the big trend, regardless of whether the fruit was grown organically or traditionally. The carton is supposed to be an attractive, environmentally friendly alternative to excessive plastic and is establishing itself more and more in the trade throughout D-A-CH. VIP also follows this trend and goes one step further: "Consumers today have a completely different hunger for knowledge and very precise traceability is extremely important. On all Bio-Vinschgau packaging is the name of the producer who grew the apples. By means of a QR code one can access precise information about the producer, the area, the variety and much more.
Cardboard packaging with producer information
Eberhöfer explains the online portal
Bonita: Start of the season imminent
The new apple variety Bonita is a big topic for Bio Vinschgau. The marketing season is in the starting blocks and expectations are good: "The Bonita apple has a very special taste and is to be marketed from February to June. The variety is a good addition to our existing range".
Europe as one, big region
"In the long term, we want to make the import of overseas apples superfluous. We see the future of regionality in Europe, with Europe as a single, large, independent 'region'. The prerequisite for this is sufficient year-round supply availability. Thanks to the very good 2019 harvest, we can still offer a very wide range of products until June. In the transition to the new season, we will then continue with a slightly limited assortment," Eberhöfer concludes.