Italy: Increasing demand for organic persimmons

"A year characterised by excellent quality with grades below the norm but with an overall volume not far from average years. Prices are not brilliant, but they are not low either," reported Mirco Zanelli, sales manager for Apofruit Italia, as regards the 2017 persimmon campaign.

Persimmons on a tree

"We have harvested 90% of Tipo persimmons and a third of Rojo Brillante. Our produce comes from Emilia Romagna and we are expecting around 2000 tons of traditional ones and 1000 tons of Rojo Brillante. In addition, demand for organic produce is increasing, so much so that this year we are expecting 400 tons of it."

Apofruit sorting line

Figures are rather stable. New orchards have started producing but old ones have been uprooted. After a rather frenetic growth, Rojo Brillante is now stable. In some areas of Spain, harvesting can be carried out between September and December, so they have a wider window compared to Italy, where this variety needs to be harvested before the November chill kicks in.

Rojo Brillante part of the Solarelli range

The director confirms that quality is very good thanks to the lack of rain. Too much humidity would in fact produce the typical blackening of the skin caused by fungi.

Grades are slightly smaller than the norm, which is due to the high summer temperature. Spain had to deal with the same problem. The country is a leading producer with 500 thousand tons every year.

"90% of our production is commercialised in Italy. 10% of Tipo persimmons is exported to nearby countries such as Switzerland and Austria. The same goes for Rojo Brillante, as most of it is sold on the domestic market with small quantities shipped to northern Europe."

Mirco Zanelli, sales director for Apofruit

Demand for organic persimmons is increasing and this year Apofruit will commercialise 400 tons under the Almaverde Bio brand. Again, mostly on the domestic market.

As regards packaging, the director stresses that Tipo persimmons are mostly placed in punnets with a lid holding 2 or 4 fruits. Rojos are sold in single-layer cells or in 4-6 fruit punnets. The produce is commercialised mostly through the retail channel - the majority of traditional fruit is under the distributor chain brand, while Rojo Brillante and organic fruit are under the company brand.

"The first 15 days saw very good prices, then the market stabilised with quotations that weren't brilliant but not too bad either. It's very difficult to talk about final liquidations because a lot depends on grade and produce loss as persimmons are very delicate. Production costs are anyway rather low so the gross saleable production is always good."

Gruppo Apofruit

Viale della Cooperazione, 400
Tel.: (+39) 0547 414111
Fax: (+39) 0547 414166

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