“Emphasize Dutch commitment to quality”

Now that the fruit harvest is done and apples and pears are ready to hit the markets, European WAPA predictions seem to have been validated: there is very little crop to go around. Only harvests in Hungary and Poland were better than those of last year. In fact, Poland is the only country with a sizable crop. In the rest of Europe, the outcome is dramatic.

Leonard Kampschöer of Fruitmasters admits that yields have never been smaller. “It’s dreadful. Not just here but everywhere. Prices will almost definitely be much higher.” One other thing the Dutch hard fruit sector has to deal with is the advance of Poland on European markets. “Poland is doing exceptionally well on the apple market, especially with varieties like Idared, Ingrid Marie and Jonagold. To face this development, Holland has been increasingly active in the pear industry, something that Poland hasn’t tackled yet.”

But the Dutch aren’t beaten just yet. Kampschöer thinks the concept of club varieties is still promising. These apples are in high demand throughout Europe. Production is spread over Italy, South Africa, Chile and New Zealand. “To stay competitive, Holland has to perform in areas like quality and innovation.” For the past 10 years the country has been doing just that. “Just look at the consistent quality of the Elstar.”

Kampschöer predicts a bigger specialization in club varieties. “In the past, our supply was limited. That has changed a lot in the last couple of years, and I expect the future market to shift towards quality club apples, and away from bulk products with low prices. Even customers, I think, want to pay a little extra for an apple that is really tasty and voluptuous. What we need to do is emphasize the Dutch commitment to quality, make it marketable.”


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