On Friday, November 20th Dutch fruit growers came together in Wageningen, The Netherlands for the NFO knowledge day. The presentations from the day will be discussed on this website in the coming weeks, "Know your target market and the consumer." This is the advice Wilco van de Berg, from GroentenFruit Huis, began his presentation with. Wilco discussed market insight in the 2014/2015 top fruit season.
"The Dutch top fruit harvest reached 329 million kilos of apples and 327 million kilos of pears this year," says Wilco. "For apples this is a decrease of 7% compared to 2013/2014. The volume of pears decreased by 7% compared to last season, which means the volume was at the same level as it was in 2013. The decrease in apples is spread out over all the apple varieties, with the Kanzi and Junami being the only exceptions. The volume of these two varieties grew slightly and remained the same, respectively. The pear harvest consists of 80% Conference pears, and the decrease here is also spread out across all varieties."
Domestic market largest
According to Wilco, the domestic market is the biggest buyer, "Approximately 60 to 65% of all apples and 30% of all pears remain within the Netherlands. We are eating less top fruit, but the good news is that the consumption of apples has remained stable since 2014. The share of the largest player, Elstar, has risen to 40% and remains stable, in terms of volume."
33% more bought than in 2013
Pear sales show a different picture, "In 2014, 33% more pears were bought than in 2013. The Conference pears, which accounted for 60% of all sales, rose along this line."
Between October 2014 and September 2015 the Elstar apple was the biggest seller (40%). After which came the Jonagold/Jonagored (19.8%) and the Gala apple (8.2%). These three apples represented 66% of all apple sales. Number four on the list is the Granny Smith, followed by Goudeinette, Junami, Golden Delicious, Kanzi, Pink Lady and Fuji. The smaller varieties made up 3-4% of sales."
According to the numbers, the three major varieties also have the most buyers. Although the Granny Smith apple is fourth, it has considerably less buyers than Goudreinette and Junami, "Granny Smith is thus a relatively common purchase for some buyers and is apparently an apple for apple aficionados. Half of the people who buy the Goudreinette apple are over 65 years old, and the Gala apple appears to be the most popular for consumers under 30 years old. The Elstar is around the average."
Elstar has the most loyal buyers
Along with a wide consumer base, the Elstar also has a loyal consumer base, "65% of Dutch households buy Elstar. Jonagold/Jonagored come in second and the rest of the varieties are often bought off and on. 37% of the consumers buy just one or two varieties throughout the whole year. Dutch consumers are thus very tied to specifics varieties. On the other hand, 3 in 10 consumers buy 5 or more varieties in a year. This makes it difficult to distinguish between the different varieties."
Young people are not eating pears
There is a clear picture for the consumption of pears, "The Doyenne du Comice is popular with seniors. Young people mainly buy Conference, if they're buying pears at all. More than half of the consumers under 30 years old either rarely buy pears or don't buy them at all. This is important to know," says Wilco.
According to Wilco, the top fruit sector can be happy with the amount of attention that apples and pears are getting in retail. He gives a few examples for why they can be happy: the position of top fruit as 'the fruit' of the fall and the fact that apples and pears are offered as snacks for children at school.
England for Russia
Abroad, the Russian market, which accounted for 30% of sales in 2013/2014, has been replaced with the British market (19%) and with export to Germany, Poland, France, the Czech Republic and Latvia, "In terms of the long-haul destinations we are happy with the 1,100 tons of pears that are going to China," says Wilco. "This number is still small but it can definitely grow," Jaco van Bruchem talked about this at the NFO knowledge day, his findings will be published on our site next week. Click here to see the photo album Apple export down 21%
In 2014/2015, 64 million kilos of apples were exported to other countries, a 21% decrease compared to 2013/2014, "Elstar and Jonagold made up half of the apples that were exported. Germany bought the most, at 23 million kilos, followed by France and England with 8 million and 6 million kilos respectively. Just like as with pears, the growth in sales markets took place mainly in Central- and Eastern European countries like Poland and the Czech Republic."