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France: Wide coverage helps to weather apple market

A large apple crop in Europe and a Russian ban on European imports will make this a challenging year for Europe's apple exporters. For Albafruit, a grower-shipper based in France's Midi-Pyrenees region, the key to getting by this season, and in succeeding during more prosperous seasons, is having a wide distribution network and a good selection of apples you can sell across that network.

Established 20 years ago, Albafruit markets apples, kiwifruit, plums, cherries, strawberries, grapes and melons. They grow a third of their own kiwifruit, but their main exports are apples, which will mean they'll have a tough export season this year.

“We have a lot of apples, from the Southern Hemisphere crop, and we'll have big production,” said Chrisophe Ochs of Albafruit. “We also have to face this Russia problem, which has caused a panic in the market, so I don't think it will be a good year.” In such a situation, it's good to not have to rely on only a few markets, and Albafruit's philosophy ensures they don't.

“Our position today is not to forget anybody,” explained Ochs. “If anyone wants to buy an apple, we want to sell to them.” That requires year-round production, which necessitates varieties that can be grown in the Southern Hemisphere. It also requires varieties that store well and can withstand long trips to their final markets. The varieties available also have to be disparate enough that they match the tastes of consumers around the world.

“Our advantage in this region is that we can produce sweet apples,” noted Ochs. “So we can go to markets in Southeast Asia where consumers prefer those apples.” Competition in those markets, as well as those throughout Europe, will be fierce this season, so consumers with a preference for one's apples will be especially beneficial. That French apples are known for their taste gives shippers like Albafruit hope this season, as well having varieties that store well.

“We have very good quality this year, so we will be able to put lots of fruit in storage,” said Ochs. “We'll try to sell as much as we can, and if we can't sell, we'll put apples in stocks and see how it goes. I hope we'll find a way.”

For more information:
Tel: +33 563 046 004
Fax: +33 563 291 656
[email protected]