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Hannes Tauber, Marketing Manager VOG-Home of Apples:

"The apple industry, a world beyond fruit and vegetables"

The apple industry is changing and moving in new directions that go beyond the traditional concept of fruit and vegetables. VOG - Home of Apples, which will celebrate its 80th birthday in 2025, is one of the protagonists in these new trends.

Marketing manager Hannes Tauber: "The apple industry has experienced continuous development over recent years, and this remains an ongoing trend. A significant proportion of our expenditure is directed towards research and development, with the objective of enhancing the quality of our product range. This encompasses improvements in taste, yield, production and storage. In order to introduce new apple varieties to a market that is very traditional, as is the consumer, it is necessary to offer new experiences and to find new ways of communicating and presenting them. In brief, we must transcend the familiarity that prompts consumers to gravitate toward a specific apple."

Hannes Tauber.

The shift in consumption and consumer expectations has led to a need to engage with individuals on a one-to-one basis, rather than with a standard representative of a group. Consequently, communication becomes a distinctive element and cannot be the basic, one-size-fits-all communication," Tauber continues. "To date, we have observed a high level of apple consumption among a specific group of consumers (those driven by habit), in contrast to a lower level of consumption among young people and young families. With the consolidation of Cosmic Crisp®, Giga®, RedPop®, Joya® and Sweetango™ in the market, we have entered a third phase of innovation in the category. This phase was marked by the introduction of Pink Lady®, Gala and Fuji, followed by Kanzi®, envy™ and yello®. Today, we offer consumers a wide range of apples to suit their preferences. Each apple thus becomes a point of contact with the consumer, engaging them in a unique way through the brand identity."

In light of these considerations, VOG-Home of apples, in partnership with several European retailers, has launched the Innovation Corner, a new point-of-sale display format dedicated to the most modern apple brands, which fully reflects the values of innovation that the consortium wants to convey. "It is a mobile, versatile and flexible display that visually enhances the point of sale and at the same time helps consumers find the ideal apple for their needs. So far, the response from consumers and retailers has been overwhelmingly positive. The Innovation Corner, which includes tastings, has led to immediate purchases as well as repurchases at a later date. The flexible format has also made it possible to communicate about apple products outside the fruit and vegetable department.

The introduction of envy™ has led to a significant shift in consumer perception in the fruit and vegetable market. Rather than simply being seen as a commodity, fruit and vegetables are now being presented as a multisensory experience. The feedback received thus far has been overwhelmingly positive, with envy™ hailed as one of the most popular apples available. Boasting a rich, sweet aroma, a crisp texture and a juicy, full-bodied flavor, this apple has an impact on consumers. However, as Tauber points out, envy™ is more than just an apple. It is a five-sensory experience. Who would have imagined associating a lipstick with the color of an apple? Nevertheless, the claim 'Red as a lipstick, but you can eat it' accurately captures the essence of the fruit, suggesting its potential beyond the conventional perception. A similar effect was achieved with the claim 'It looks like chocolate, but you can eat as many as you like.' These concepts represent pioneering communication strategies in the realm of fruit and vegetables."

Tauber says that other varieties are also displaced from the fruit and vegetable department. "We are moving into the snack sector with Red Pop®. It is a real apple-shaped snack. It is a little apple with a sweet heart, which has nothing to envy to chocolate and sweets.

VOG apples on the rise

The consortium's strategy was confirmed by the results of the marketing year at the beginning of April. Despite strong competition in southern Europe, its market position has been strengthened with an increase in sales in Italy and a positive balance in European and non-European countries. In the face of logistical challenges such as the crisis in the Red Sea and the restrictions in the Suez Canal, there has been strong demand and significant sales in recent weeks.

Apples such as RedPop®, Giga®, Cosmic Crisp®, Crimson Snow®, Joya® and Golden Delicious will be available until late summer, with the next two months crucial for destocking. Klaus Hölzl, VOG sales manager, emphasized the growing importance of the summer season for new varieties and the commitment to maintain VOG as a benchmark throughout the 12 months of the year. He said that VOG would work closely with its retail partners to optimize the positioning of apples and to adapt consumers to this new dynamic.

"Apples such as Gala, Granny Smith, Fuji and Kanzi® performed well, with particularly strong demand for Fuji in Italy and growing success for Kanzi® among young consumers; envy™ is on track to complete its campaign by May, with remarkable growth in Spain and Italy, the latter benefiting from the advertising campaigns. Cosmic Crisp® has been enthusiastically received by the markets," continues Hölzl. "The demand for Giga® is increasing and is gearing up for a sales peak in the spring and summer season thanks to its excellent shelf life. RedPop® is gaining new consumers and customers in Europe, while Crimson Snow is expanding in Eastern and Southern Europe due to its strong brand reputation. Joya completes the summer offer, having been launched in April."

The VOG-Home of Apples team at Macfrut 2024.

VOG's organic apple sales have grown significantly since the second half of March, with increased consumption and a favourable situation in Europe. "Gala was characterized by an excellent sales performance, which exceeded expectations thanks to optimal planning and increased consumption," added Hölzl.

Eighty thousand participants for the Marlene® dining experience

Marlene is one of the brands representing VOG-Home of Apples and one of the best known and most appreciated by consumers. The Daughter of the Alps, which will be 30 years old next year, has engaged consumers in recent campaigns by telling them about the land and the seasons as the distinctive elements of its apple varieties, which are available 12 months a year. For this reason, it involved consumers in a culinary experience with a big competition that ended in mid-April.

Eighty thousand participants - more than half of them from Italy - explored the Aroma Wheel and the pairings recommended by Marlene, to try to win one of the gourmet packages up for grabs in instant win mode, with 256 Italian gourmet recipes uploaded on The authors of the five winning recipes were invited to a South Tyrol experience, including a gala dinner with chef Norbert Niederkofler.

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