Italians have been purchasing more apples since the coronavirus outbreak, with the country’s stocks nearly 20% below average for this stage in the campaign. Over 224,000 tons of apples were sold in Italy during March. All apple varieties have recorded an increase in sales. The trend, which has seen consumers prefer long-lasting fruit over soft fruits such as strawberries, has boosted apple demand in recent weeks.
The situation is also being helped by the improvements to the continent’s fresh produce transport network. The body representing Italy’s apple sector Assomela said, “In Europe, the initial logistical problems seem to be overcome. Some residual problems remain for other destinations outside the EU, meanwhile, but a gradual adaptation to restrictive measures imposed by the authorities means those problems are steadily being resolved.” Another challenge faced by the sector is the need to recruit seasonal labour.