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Thierry Mellenotte, Pink Lady Europe Federation: "We are very satisfied with last season's results".

Pink Lady's 2023/2024 season looks promising with 100,000 tons of French production

Despite a struggling European fruit market, Pink Lady Europe closes its 2022-2023 campaign with a 9% growth in sales in France over the previous year, achieving a 6% market share and 29% penetration of the French market. As Europe's third largest market, behind Germany and the UK, the French industry continues to position itself as a benchmark in the premium apple market, attracting consumers with quality and responsible corporate conduct. France is Europe's largest producer of Pink Lady apples, with 90,000 tonnes a year, or almost 50% of overall European production.

Among the season's key figures, the Pink Lady Europe Association also saw a 48% increase in sales of PinKids, the small-caliber product aimed at children, with a sales volume of 167 tons compared to 113 tons the previous year. Sales volume for PinKids for the 2022/2023 season is 423 tonnes vs. 355 tonnes the year before, an increase of 19%.

2022/2023: smaller sizes and 3% volume growth
Like most apple crops last year, the Pink Lady campaign was impacted by heatwave and drought. "We started the campaign in November 2022 and closed at the end of June 2023. With the temperature differences between day and night, Pink Lady® apples take on their characteristic color in September. Harvesting then begins in October. The first apples reach the stores in November. This season was characterized by high sugar levels due to the heat of the summer months, and a fairly average size overall. Due to the heatwave, water restrictions were imposed in all basins. As a result, fruit sizes were smaller than expected, despite very good growth in the spring. A number of fruits "stalled" in size over the summer due to excessive heat. As a result, the proportion of small sizes was higher this season than in the last five. This also led to significant cracking during harvest in basins where it was unheard of: South-West and Loire Valley. However, in terms of volume, the 2022-2023 harvest has been good, up 3% on 2022, with 180,000 tonnes (Pink Lady® + PinKids®) in Europe", reports Thierry Mellenotte, Director of the Pink Lady Europe Association.

Dynamic orchard growth plan for 2030
Between 2018 and 2022, orchards grew significantly to reach 3,350 growers in the 3 production countries (France, Italy, and Spain), while respecting the importance of each basin. "France will remain the main development basin for the years to come. We plan to grow dynamically by 2030, expanding existing orchards and adding new ones, with priority given to young growers. All growers must be certified: GlobalGAP and GRASP certified, Organic or PFI + HVE 3 certified".

A promising 2023/2024 season
So far, fruit size and load are good. The potential volume of the Pink Lady® brand orchard is estimated at 225,000 tons for Europe. This would mean around 100,000 tonnes produced in France (45% of total production). "The first actual, more precise estimate based on orchards will only be known at the end of August. With a few exceptions, French orchards did not suffer any major damage from this summer's bad weather. Most orchards are equipped with nets to protect trees and fruit in the event of hail. And the weather is currently perfect for the development of apples. Regular rainfall and high temperatures in spring have been good for orchards. The summer was much cooler than in 2022, boosting fruit size. For September, we hope to see warm, sunny days and cool nights for the fruit to develop their color. Growers are closely monitoring the temperatures and heat of August to ensure that the fruits are developing well.

"In Italy, thankfully, the floods in May caused little damage to Pink Lady® orchards. Other crops were however damaged. Meanwhile, in Spain, orchards had to cope with severe drought".

Exciting and inspiring promotional campaigns for this new season
Numerous exciting and inspiring promotional campaigns - such as Adopte un Arbre (Adopt a Tree) and Bee Pink, which will be relaunched next spring - are scheduled for the new season. "Pink Lady® Europe will also continue to move forward on its corporate commitments as a partner of the LPO (Ligue pour la Protection des Oiseaux - League for the Protection of Birds) for the past 2 years. After studying chickadees in orchards, a new LIFE* project (our project has been selected by Europe!*) should see the light of day to develop an indicator for the study of chiropterans. The Association is pursuing its 2030 carbon neutrality plan, working on soil regeneration and the new breed of apple growers within the collective.

In keeping with its commitment to sustainable development and environmental responsibility, Pink Lady® will be replacing its current stickers with paper ones as of next season.

*Pink Lady® Europe will take part in the LIFE Stratégique pour la Nature project, led by the LPO (Ligue de Protection des Oiseaux) and the OFB (Office Français pour la Biodiversité) starting in 2024. The aim of this project is to support and train the agricultural sector in developing biodiversity-friendly practices. The objectives of the Life project are therefore in line with the ecological transition to which Pink Lady® arboriculturists are committed. The project will enable us to improve our knowledge of chiropteran predation in orchards and, more generally, to improve our practices.

For further information:
[email protected]

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