This year, the first flat nectarine with complete pistil closure was launched on the market. The first campaign in Europe of this flat nectarine developed by Agro Selections Fruits (ASF) and sold under the Ondine brand is finishing with very satisfactory results.
“In its first year, it has been sold for very high prices. The fruit's perfect pistil closure prevents microorganisms that would reduce its shelf life from entering. Thus, this puts an end to the paradigm that flat nectarines have a short shelf life, which is why large retail chains have so far been reluctant to acquire this stone fruit species. Also, its high taste quality, with a sugar level between 15 and 19 degrees Brix, has made it possible to meet all the objectives for both retailers and end consumers,” says Angel Vallin, from ASF.
In the coming years, the production will increase in order to reach a sufficient supply in all the areas where it is produced, from Spain, France and Italy in the northern hemisphere to South Africa and Chile in the southern hemisphere. When the trees reach their maturity, there will be supply for 9 to 10 months.
The European stone fruit campaign will end almost a month early this year due to the huge drop in the production; a consequence of adverse weather conditions in almost all producing areas. Now, therefore, we are in a period in which growers are taking stock of the campaign and have started trying to decide which species they should plant and which varieties should be replaced.
"At ASF, in addition to the development and genetics of the varieties, we help in the marketing of the product in large distribution chains. This gives us direct feedback on the parameters that consumers and retailers demand," says Ángel Vallin.
ASF has two commercial brands for its stone fruit varieties, with two different consumption concepts. On the one hand, Ondine is used for both Paraguayo peaches and the recently introduced flat nectarine as part of the finger food concept; that is, easy-to-consume snack fruit, for all ages, anywhere and at any time. On the other hand, the Regalin brand is used to sell nectarines, peaches and apricots with a more traditional approach to consumption.
Frutaria Life and Quality Plant are the nurseries in Spain that sell the plants of all these certified flat fruit varieties in different formats, also providing technical assistance to the producers for their planting and subsequent handling.
"A pending issue for stone fruit, according to market studies carried out by European institutions, is the lack of consistency in terms of quality and flavor, given the many varieties that are available on the market. This causes confusion among consumers, who may find themselves having good experiences, but also unpleasant disappointments that end up having an impact on sales and consequently on prices,” says Angel Vallin.
"The varieties sold under our brands meet a number of standards when it comes to their flavor, cosmetic quality, size and Brix level. What matters most is that the market has access to tasty varieties and that there is consistency every week of the campaign,” he says.