After a difficult start due to declining European consumption and strong international competition, there are glimmers of optimism for the rest of the 2022/2023 apple season. This is the assessment outlined by the VOG Consortium at Fruit Logistica, the international fruit and vegetable fair in Berlin.
“The context in which we are operating has become increasingly complex, but we are facing it with a strong and united organization that allows us to look to the future with confidence,” comments Walter Pardatscher, CEO of VOG. “In the future, the strategic development of the varietal assortment will play a major role in order to continue to cover all the needs of the different markets with high-quality products all year round.”
While the first few months of the campaign have been characterized by oversupply and severe price pressure, the European stock situation in Europe as of December 1 offers positive signs. The current stock is 4.4 million tons, 430 thousand tons less than in 2021 and 100 thousand tons less than in 2020.
“The European estimates bode well,” explains Klaus Hölzl, Sales Manager at VOG. “In these weeks we should see a balancing of the supply-demand ratio, resulting in a stabilization of prices. We will have to wait until at least spring for a trend reversal, although the unknown factor related to consumption in Europe remains.”
In terms of markets, VOG reaffirmed its position in Italy, increasing its sales in large-scale distribution. With regard to exports, trade policies in central and northern European countries have led to a shift in volumes to Spain, the Arab world, South America and Asia. On the Asian continent, the Consortium’s apples made their debut in Taiwan in late December under the Marlene®, Pink Lady® and RedPop® brands.
“Our presence in more than 70 European and extra-European markets is a strength in the current scenario,” Hölzl further comments, “because it has enabled us to market the volumes we had planned, albeit with different sizes and qualities than we had anticipated, given the shift to countries with different preferences.”
Cosmic Crisp®, RedPop® and Giga® arrive
The second half of the season will also see the start of marketing of Cosmic Crisp®, RedPop® and Giga®, the three most recent apples introduced by VOG, each with its own distinctive placement. While Cosmic Crisp® will captivate consumers with its heavenly taste, RedPop® is the little big sweetness, a snack to always carry with you, and Giga® is the big, tasty apple, perfect for sharing. Due to their quality and shelf life, these three apples are perfectly suited for marketing from February onward.
“With the current consumption situation, our primary goal is to give apples new added value by lending distinctiveness and uniqueness to each brand,” explains Hannes Tauber, Marketing Manager at VOG. “The introduction of these three apples to our assortment demonstrates our role in enhancing the apple category and offering customers and consumers the right apple for every need.”
Promotion and marketing activities for other contract apples that are increasingly popular with consumers, such as Pink Lady®, envy™, yello® and Kanzi®, will also resume between February and March.
High-quality apples 12 months a year, including organic
VOG’s assortment also covers the needs of apples from organic production, with development plans that will see an increase in volumes in the coming years, now 30,000 tons per year. With 300 member growers, a wide assortment of varieties and brands, and 40 export countries, the Consortium’s organic range is on the markets 12 months a year, always with high-quality fruit.
The assortment includes the Biosüdtirol and Bio Marlene® brands, alongside successful brands such as Pink Lady® Bio, Kanzi® Bio, Evelina Bio® and envy™ bio, the organic versions of the latest releases Giga®, RedPop® and Cosmic Crisp®, and finally varieties and brands exclusive to the organic segment such as Natyra®, Topaz, Pilot, Gold Rush and Bonita.
VOG’s organic range will be the focus of trade communication activities in the coming months and will be presented at Biofach, the professional trade fair dedicated to organic products scheduled for 14-17 February in Nuremberg (Hall 7, Stand 7-361).