VIP, the Association of Fruit and Vegetable Cooperatives of Val Venosta, in October 2022, decided to entrust a dedicated manager with the development of the coordination of the growth of the "Managed Varieties" (the Club apples), in order to have an overview of each individual project. After just over a year, VIP has achieved the first positive results from this new organisational and management approach.

Fabio Zanesco

The task of managing the complete cycle of VIP's Club apples, from plant planning to production output, from drafting commercial objectives to the market launch, was entrusted to Fabio Zanesco, a manager already involved in the commercial sector.

Zanesco points out: "It is important to network. As well as with the Club representatives, it is necessary to coordinate with various figures within VIP, first and foremost the production managers, the sales manager and the marketing manager, but also with the other production consortia, which turn from competitors into partners for the Club apples. Moreover, there is the need for a constant dialogue with customers, which helps to understand the effectiveness of the strategies implemented".

The task is complex because the Managed Varieties produced by VIP - Ambrosia™, Kanzi®, envy™, Cosmic Crisp®, Yello®, SweeTango™, Kissabel®, Bonita, Natyra® - are at different stages of development: some are in the launch phase, some are in the growth phase, and some are already "mature" and in the consolidation phase.

Martin Pinzger, CEO, emphasised how VIP has over the years pursued an ever-increasing development and growth of Club apples and how this continues to be the direction to take: while in 2014 these apples accounted for 1% of the apples produced by VIP, today they account for 15%, in 2025 they will represent 16% and the goal is to reach 30% in 2030.

Managed varieties make it possible to increase the range offered, to satisfy a variety of tastes. Then, they are a source of competitive differentiation. Furthermore, they make it possible to cover 12 months of supply with premium apples. But, most importantly, they represent a modernisation of the varietal assortment, which responds to the modernisation of consumer taste preferences.

Fabio Zanesco explains: "Consumer tastes have changed. Today's consumers have highly evolved tastes, more aware, more refined, and in any case different from those of yesterday. Club apples, compared to traditional ones, respond better to new preferences. Never forget that for food products every consumer has a 'share of stomach' that cannot be disregarded. If people fill it with another product, they will not have 'space' enough to consume apples as well. Promoting new, innovative apples that are as attractive in their taste and appearance as they are in the way they are presented and promoted, gains share of stomach for your product. VIP aims not to follow, but to anticipate market trends, the new management of Club Apples confirms this."

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