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Denis Piper, Melzig LLC, on club apple varieties and the start of the citrus season

"Every year we are being offered five varieties that claim to be the new Pink Lady"

Apples are one of the staple foods in the German retail trade; right now consumers are enjoying freshly harvested produce. Every year there are new club varieties that want to conquer this market, but these unfortunately often only have moderate successes, says Denis Piper from Melzig LLC in Aschaffenburg: "Every year I get 5 or 6 varieties that claim to be the new Pink Lady. Most of the time they do not prevail."

In general, he always waits to see how the new varieties develop: "There is a lot of competition on the apple market, where everyone tries to distinguish themselves from the competition. That's what makes the cultivation of club varieties so interesting. Everyone hopes for a success story like Pink Lady. Unfortunately - at least with our customers - not so many have been able to establish themselves." In the regular Melzig range one will of course find a few club varieties: "We offer Pink Lady and Kanzi, which are doing very well. We also have Jazz apples, but they don't do quite as well. New this year is the Honeycrunch."

Last year he tried several varieties from Lake Constance: "Varieties like Evelina or Kiku sold quite well, but this year our customers seem to have forgotten them already. In the end, it's the classics - Jonagold and Elstar - that go well, no matter what season." The cooperation between regional producers and regional grocery stores is also important for Piper: "Apple sales are already very solid in our region when they are a bit slow elsewhere."

Slowly but surely, part of the sales in the apple segment are being replaced by the first citrus fruits: "You can tell that the season is starting. The prices are still a bit higher, but the demand for oranges and clementines is already very good." Melzig mainly purchases citrus fruits from Spain. Smaller quantities also come in from Italy.

Similar to apples, there is a certain brand affinity among his customers for citrus fruits: "In the past, much more was sold by brand, no matter what fruit. Today, the market is moving away from brands and customers are much more interested in value for money and quality. If the product looks good and is beautifully presented, that seems to be more important. In the case of oranges and clementines, this trend has not yet caught on so well and there is still a focus on brands."

Melzig also offers citrus fruits of the Götterfrucht brand.

Despite the lockdown, things are going well in Aschaffenburg, says Piper: "We are lucky that we mainly supply the food retail trade, even if the increase there is not as great as in the spring." During the last lockdown, food retailers were able to make up for all the losses in the restaurant trade, but we are not seeing that this time."

The reason for this is also the sophisticated concepts of the catering trade: "Thanks to delivery and collection services, the catering trade is enduring fewer losses than in spring. Furthermore, daycare centers and schools remain open. All in all, everyone also knew a little better what the situation would be like. There was time to prepare and work out concepts. That's why everything is now running a bit more smoothly."

For more information:
Denis Piper
Frischezentrum Aschaffenburg Melzig GmbH
Magnolienweg 46
63741 Aschaffenburg
Mobile: 0159 / 04600878
Tel: 06021 / 15087-52  

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