Italy: Apple production and market situation for the 2017/2018 season

Assomela has analysed the production data updated to the first week of December as well as the market trends during the first part of the season. 

Production is definitive now, also for late varieties like Cripps Pink. Forecasts made in August have been confirmed.

The overall apple volume is little over 1.7 million tons, -25% compared to last season when quantities exceeded 2.2 million tons.

The typical malformations and russeting due to the cold weather and heavy rain in August meant larger quantities had to be destined to the processing industry (from the normal 12% to 20% in 2017), with a reduction of volumes destined to the fresh market estimated at 1.4 million tons, i.e. 30% less than autumn 2016.

Nonetheless, final quality is good in terms of both flavour and colour. Grades are only slightly smaller for the earliest varieties.

The variety that has registered the most significant drop is Golden Delicious, but drops are actually affecting all the most traditional varieties such as Red Delicious, Fuji, Gala and Renetta. Granny Smith and Cripps Pink (Pink Lady) have suffered less, just like other most recent varieties.

Considering production data, it's not surprising that "table apple" stocks in Italy on 1st December 2017 are the lowest ever at just over 1 million tons, a 32% drop compared to 1st December 2016.

Since the season started, 394,000 tons have been sold, proof that the market started rather slowly.

Trends and perspectives
The slow start of the season was certainly influenced by the will of POs to comply with destocking plans made according to the lower quantities available.

Italy and Germany remain the reference markets at the start of the campaign as exports, particularly those overseas, are rather scarce.

The objective is to focus sales mainly on the Italian market and main European countries to guarantee suitable supplies to domestic clients and leading markets.

As regards quotations, the lack of produce led to an improvement compared to the same period in previous years.

Sales dynamics and quotations were analysed during the EC "apple and pear" group held on 1st December in Brussels. Assomela took part to represent Italian producers.

No significant imports are expected from the southern hemisphere which, over the past few years, have been destined mainly towards the Middle East, India and Asia.

The data collected by the European Commission reveal that, in November 2017, Italian average prices for packaged apples outside the processing facility were €0.86/kg (+21% on the average of the first five years). Price increases were also registered in France with €0.95/kg (+14%), Germany (€ 0.86/kg / +91%) and Poland (€ 0.42/kg / +72%).

The season will definitely unique but, once again, the Italian apple sector shows it has what it takes to guarantee a better flowing market over the next few months.

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