David Eibel, OPST Fruit Partner Steiermark

Distribution company exports to 30 countries worldwide

The apple is one of the favorite varieties of fruit in Austria. And the country in the Alps can provide 100% of its own apples. Furthermore the Austrian apples are loved in other countries too. For 27 years the brand "fresh and juicy from Styria" offers high quality apples from Austria. The brand is part of the farmers association OPST Fruit Partner Steiermark, with its headquarters in Wollsdorf. We interviewed the CEO David Eibel about this year's apple season.

FreshPlaza: Mr. Eibel, how are the OPST harvest results this year? Can you give us some numbers?
David Eibel: This year’s yield was a bit smaller than previous years. However in the OPST-group harvested almost 100,000 metric tons of apples.

FP: How is the quality of the fruit?
Eibel: This year was very balanced considering the weather, without serious ups and downs. A hot summer with an evenly distributed rainfall was optimal for the maturation of the fruit and a balanced sugar-acid ratio in the fruit, which is crucial for a good flavor. Due to the optimal weather, the balanced sunshine ratio and the hard work of our apple producers throughout the year, this year was a qualitatively and quantitatively good apple harvest.

FP: Until recently many organizations in Germany are still discussing what to expect from the season?
Eibel: The start of this years season showed promise. I am confident and optimistic that the situation will remain stable or even improve.

FP: The supply of apples constantly grows, how is the situation in Austria? Which varieties are available?
Eibel: Our range is with 10 apples from "fresh and juicy from Styria" quite large. The main varieties of our brand are Golden Delicious, Gala, Braeburn, Idared, Jonagold, Evelina®, Arlet, Elstar, Fuji/Kiku® and Kronprinz Rudolf apples. Their taste ranges from juicy and sweet, fresh and aromatic, spicy and fruity or even sweet with a tinge of tartness.

FP: How is the current demand?
Eibel: We are satisfied with the current demand. The high demand is surely influenced by the high quality of the apple harvest. Because especially this year the trade and the consumers can look forward to aromatic, juicy and crunchy apples. Today’s apples have all the right qualities, just as an apple should!

FP: About the keyword "Import": What is the competition? 
Eibel: At the Austrian market the region, quality and sustainability are very important, and that is exactly what we can offer with our "fresh and juicy from Styria" apples. Our approximately 600 apple producers in Steiermark, the apple-producing region, hold the main position in total Austrian apple production. Therefore competition from abroad is unimportant in our case.

FP: Where do your apples go?
Eibel: The 30 most important export countries are Germany, Scandinavia, Spain, and South Europe. But customers in Northern Africa and the Middle East value our apples too. 

FP: Finally,how do you think the market will develop in the coming weeks?
Eibel: I thick that the market will remain stable in the coming weeks.

David Eibel
OPST Obst Partner Steiermark GmbH
Wollsdorf 154, 8181 St. Ruprecht/Raab
Tel: +43 3178 2212-0

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