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Short season for French apples

Frost earlier this year has led to smaller crops for French apple growers. With less fruit, the season will most likely be cut short and prices will be higher than normal. But with growers having to compensate for less volume with higher prices, and uncertain economic conditions throughout Europe, setting prices that won't turn off consumers will be tough.

“We have something like 33 to 35 percent less volume of apples compared to last year,” said Ioanis Fotiadis of BVL. He attributed the reduced quantities to frost in April that hit growing regions in central France where they source part of their apples. In addition to cutting down on production by damaging fruit, the weather delayed the start of the season, further limiting supplies. That limited supply means prices will go up. But setting the right price is a challenge given the demands from both growers and consumers.

“The biggest obstacle for us at the moment is to find a stable price point for consumers that's also good for producers, and still being competitives.” said Ioanis Fotiadis. “Our producers have suffered a lot this season, so we have to give them back a good return as they're very important to us and they have to keep on their plan of variaty renewal.” But he acknowledged that prices can't get so high that they'll turn off buyers who are already reeling from an uncertain economic situation in Europe.

One solution has been to turn to the export market where demand has been robust. BVL currently exports about 65 percent of their crop abroad, and because 30 percent of that goes outside of Europe, Ioanis Fotiadis thinks they can do well in Middle Est, Asia and South American markets.

“The two brands which we export, Veranjou and Croc, the demand is very high,” he said. The problem is that, with supplies already stretched thin, there is less fruit to cover both domestic and export markets. Add to that an uncertainty about how fruit that made it through early frost will keep in storage, and Ioanis Fotiadis concluded that it's going to be a challenging season.

“The Gala season will be short, the Pink Lady season will be short,” he said. “In general, it's just going to be a short season.”

For more information:
Ioanis Fotiadis
Mob: +33 687 713 571

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