Sales in January, the midway point of the 2018-2019 apple season, point to an upturn in the main markets for South Tyrol - Südtirol apples.
Despite an early season shrouded in doubt due to the record production levels in Europe and the excessively high retail prices following the poor harvest of the previous season, the early January markets have shown the first hints of an upturn in demand.
“Compared with the market situation in the autumn, sales in the first weeks of January suggested an upwards trend – explains Gerhard Dichgans, Director of VOG - From 1 February the stocks in our storage facilities will be about 10% down compared with two years ago. In fact, we have to exclude last season from this comparison given that the 2017 harvest in Europe was largely unprofitable.” An important point, particularly after the events of last year with the early end to the season due to the lack of produce.
In recent weeks, demand has centred around the Royal Gala, which has been particularly popular in the Middle East, and the Red Delicious, which represents an important opportunity particularly for the Indian market given the lack of products arriving from the US.
The Granny Smith has also enjoyed an upturn in demand but demand for the Golden Delicious remains below expectations. However, stocks of this latter variety are down 30% compared with 2016 and so there is no need for alarm. Similarly, stocks of the Fuji and Braeburn are down 20% but, like every year, the market is still waiting for an upturn in demand in February/March.
“Another positive aspect at this stage of the campaign – underlines Gerhard Dichgans - is the retail price which, having returned to normal levels, is now extremely attractive to the final consumer.”
The demand for club apples which the most important are Pink Lady® and Kanzi®, goes along with expectations. In the coming weeks they are supported by many promotional activities.
Finally, demand from German supermarkets is also recovering after a very quiet autumn caused by the high production levels of private gardens in Germany. As such, the signs for the next few months of the campaign look promising.
Moving on to VOG’s organic range, its production of organic apples grew by 48% compared with 2017, the leading varieties being the Royal Gala, Braeburn, Pinova and Cripps Pink.
VOG’s organic apples are produced on its 670 hectares of organically farmed land. The Consortium, which has produced organic apples since 1990, plans to dedicate another 300 hectares of land to organic farming over the next five years to increase the total surface area to over 1000 hectares. VOG currently produces around 30,000 t of organic apples from its organic orchards, 25,000 t of which table apples, and plans to increase production to 60,000 t over the next 5 years.
“Our cooperative Bio Südtirol®, founded in 2002, only produces organic fruit – concludes Dichgans – Its founders are stubborn guys who had a clear goal in mind: to produce organic fruit with no compromises. And thanks to their determination the cooperative now has two hundred 100% organic partners, each of which cultivates an average surface area of around 3.4 hectares of apple orchards. The aim is to keep growing, with great consistency and determination”.