Summing up the data from the Russian Ministry of Agriculture, it is clear that sheltered production of vegetables continues to develop thanks to the introduction of new hothouses and modernisation of the old ones, along with the implementation of modern agricultural technologies. Most of the projects are located in the central and southern parts of the country: some 600 and 200 ha respectively are to be introduced by 2020.
Cucumber production has grown by 40% since 2013, while imports have fallen by 55%. Thus, the share of domestic production has grown from 65 to 85%, and cucumber sales have not decreased. As for tomatoes, consumption has dropped by over 30% since 2013.
Total sheltered production of vegetables has grown by 25% in 2016 compared to 2015.
The administration of X5 Group, one of the largest food retailers in Russia, has urged its suppliers to decrease prices by 10% by mid-March. The reason for the request is the growth in the rouble’s exchange rate compared to the dollar and euro. Currently, some 6,000 suppliers cooperate with the retailer, some of whom have reacted positively to the appeal. X5 Group stated that it “will possibly revise the terms of cooperation with suppliers who do not reply.” In 2016, the group’s sales grew by 27.5 %, mainly thanks to price drops and promotional actions.
After marking its debut at Fruit-Attraction in Madrid, Graziani-packaging presents the Magic Corner X-TOP corner board for the very first time in Italy at Interpoma 2016. This brand new model of corner board is the Italian firm’s flagship product capable of meeting the needs of even the most demanding clientele in overseas markets, where logistics is a greater issue than in Europe. The product was developed using relatively smaller amounts of raw materials while attaining a significant increase in mechanical resistance during refrigeration. “This has all been achieved through the work of our internal research department,” said general manager Roberto Graziani. From early 2017, investments will allow the firm to increase production capacity in Italy by 20%. Over the course of 2016 the Italian-Spanish production units of GRAZIANI-PACKAGING reached sales of 80 million metres of corner boards worldwide and 160 million metres of strapping, corresponding to the shipping of approximately 10 million pallets of goods. With an average price of €1,000, that amounts to around €10 billion. This all goes to underline how fundamental these two products are to world trade.
In 2017, leading Italian packaging company INFIA celebrates 70 years since its founding. During these seven decades INFIA has achieved a level of great prestige within the industry. Commercial manager Alessandro Mariani said, “Over the years INFIA has developed a brand that is synonymous with quality.” Mariani believes the secret of the firm’s success is very simple. “We have always kept a close eye on the needs of the market and have strived to meet these needs with solutions that are simple, practical, efficient, and of high quality, while always offering the best levels of service.”
One of the latest products to be unveiled by INFIA is called K29 – a 6-item model in a 30×40 sealable box that can therefore be stacked for better logistics (12 items in a 30×40 box). The box is produced in different heights and is designed principally for packaging small fruits. One special feature of this new product is that it allows differently coloured absorbent pads to be placed internally, while labels can be applied directly in-company. But that’s not all. Coming soon is a new multi-purpose kit for 12 items in a 40×60 zip-top box that can be used for everything from cherries to cherry tomatoes to grapes. Also soon to be launched is a 40×60 heat-sealed container for 20 items designed for the UK market. These innovations were made possible thanks in part to the firm’s expansion, completed at the end of 2016. The company also set up new production lines and automatic palletising systems to ensure greater levels of efficiency.
Thanks to their special weighing system, the brand new MHP5000 multi-belt scales, unveiled by TopControl at Interpoma 2016, can produce packages of pre-set weights. The MHP5000 device was specially designed to obtain packages of fruit levelled to a target nominal weight and it has already met with great success in Germany and Switzerland. To reduce give-away during the weighing process, there is a maximum limit per package which enables the operator to be quick and precise. Five operators are all that are required to handle the MHP5000 – far fewer than TopControl’s alternative solution, which, for the same performance level, requires scales on each work station and nine operators. The great savings in personnel, flexibility in packaging different kinds of product, and reduction in overweighing all mean that the investment outlay will be recouped in a very short time.
With a 25-year track record in the export market for exotic fruits, Ocati is a family business from Colombia that has gained access to the most demanding markets such as the US, Central America, Europe, Asia and the Middle East. The range of fruits on offer includes Cape gooseberry (aka physalis or golden berries) and passion fruit, dragon fruit, soursop, baby banana, tamarillo and gulupa, among others. Fabio Contreras Medina explains: “Our chain is 100% quality-focused and we are interested in getting closer to the final consumer, getting to know them, to find out how we can look after them and provide them with what they seek.” On one hand Ocati is supplying convenience and ready-to-eat products, and on the other, taking its first steps in organic production. Nevertheless, “First, we want the consumer to get to know the exotic fruit, before offering them an added value of this fruit that they already know.” So, although Contreras Medina points out an increase in sales and presence in the different markets, the current campaign is focusing on better management of contact with the end consumer, with a view to encouraging future sales.
Aguahass is a young Colombian company whose own fields of Hass avocado are going into their fifth year of production. The firm is now ready and able to start exporting 100% directly. Head of marketing and sales Juliana Flórez explains. “To date, we’ve been exporting through third parties, but from now on we plan to export directly, focusing on Colombian sources.” The European market is the main recipient, although Flórez does not rule out new relationships in other markets. Ms Flórez explains the cornerstones of company management: “We look for customers that are able to develop and can progress alongside us. The main requisite is quality, which can be achieved by following good agricultural practices, through respectful relations with the workers and environmental friendliness.”
Saborini and Astuto: the new tastes of HM Clause
HM Clause continues to pursue a policy of innovation in all its crops, especially the tomato. In so doing, the firm strives to supply varieties that will be up to the standards demanded by farmers and the major markets. Proof of their intent is the launch this season of the cherry tomato varieties Saborini and Astuto, as well as a ‘unique’ variety of Marmande tomato that the firm will present at Fruit Logistica. Saborini is a round cherry tomato, picked individually, (recoleccion en suelto), noted for the regularity of its size throughout the cycle (25-30 mm in diameter), for its high yield, its great consistency and its durability. Saborini is one of HM Clause’s “superflavour” varieties with its high Brix content, intense red colouring, and rounded form. This variety is suited to long cycles and offers the farmer a good yield. Another of HM Clause’s “superflavour” cherry tomatoes is Astuto. This round cherry variety can be picked individually or in a truss. It is admired for its high quality, its good yield, and the flavour deriving from its high levels of sugar concentration throughout the cycle. Last in HM Clause’s range of great-tasting cherry tomatoes is Flavoriti, a pear cherry tomato that can be picked both singly and in a truss thanks to its very robust stalk (raquis). With these varieties, HM Clause nails its colours to the mast and makes clear its pledge to “invest in flavour for today’s cherry market,” said Manuel Ruiz, the firm’s development and marketing coordinator.
A unique tomato presented at FL Berlin
Meanwhile, HM Clause uses the opportunity of the Berlin fair to continue promoting its new type of Marmande tomato. For the time being, this ‘unique tomato’” is being marketed exclusively by Casi, Agrupalmería, Biosabor and La Palma, with the latter two supplying the product organically. With this innovative tomato, the firm aims to create a new brand which consumers will associate with high quality. Manuel Ruiz said, “The tomato will be labelled with a sticker and will have to pass an auditing process both in the field and with the supplier to guarantee it complies with well-defined quality norms. The aim is for the customer to be able to identify the product in the supermarket and buy it safe in the knowledge that they are getting great quality.
According to the Spanish Federation of Wooden Packaging and Components (FEDEMCO), the tay format accounts for 60% of packaging produced for sales items. The highest growth in recent years has been in the Pitufo® brand’s formats of less than 2.5kg, with which it has reached 35% of the market share. FEDEMCO is optimistic about future opportunities for expansion. The federation’s marketing and communications manager Roberto Garcia said, “There is a growing demand for wooden packaging for premium product lines. Wood offers a stylish presentation that enhances the quality of the packaged product, setting it apart from its rivals. There is also higher demand for ‘greener’ packaging.” Firms want to present their products to a more environmentally-conscious customer in natural, ecological packaging.
Openings in distant markets
Opportunities are opening up in new markets like the US and the Middle and Far East. Robert Garcia said, “Wooden packaging is greatly admired in these areas.” Exporters prefer wooden packaging as it offers greater resistance and thus ensures the product arrives in perfect condition. FEDEMCO will once again be in attendance at Fruit Logistica 2017 (Hall 11.2, Stands 8-10), where it will display various wooden packaging formats like the Pitufo® brand’s 1-2kg containers. Roberto Garcia said, “This format is the best suited to current market conditions.” Representatives of the federation’s member companies and the FEDEMCO team will be on hand to provide information about the commercial, hygienic and environmental benefits of using wooden packaging.
Since a few months Indian fruit lovers can find a new pear from Belgium in their fruit & vegetables stores. The last three months BelOrta has made promotion on an unprecedented scale for the Belgian Conference pear in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore in collaboration with Bollywood actor Sonu Sood. The Belgian Conference pear from BelOrta is currently available in leading stores across the country, ready to be tasted.
Launching a new unknown product in a new market involves a lot of efforts and patience. BelOrta, Minister Schauvliege, VLAM, SALK, the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and Flanders Investment & Trade have therefore joined forces for the launch of the Conference pear in India. This pear has a strange ‘rusty’ look for the Indian consumer and its very own specific shape. The many positive qualities of the Conference pear should therefore be communicated in a promotion campaign.
Bollywood star on board
In early November, the Belgian Conference pear has been presented at a press conference in Mumbai in the presence of one hundred and fifty journalists. The popular Bollywood actor Sonu Sood has been selected as an ambassador to introduce this unknown pear. Together with Celebrity Chef Ranveer Brar, Sonu Sood represents the Belgian Conference pear at events, social media and on TV.
Conference all around
Recent months, the Conference pear has been promoted along the road, at bus stops, in cars, in cinemas, wholesale markets and schools. In addition, a cross-media plan has been rolled out through social media, on TV, on radio and in a large family park. Indian consumers can try the Conference through tastings in various stores in Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore during two months. The pear is available separately but also in a small punnet containing the image of the Indian superstar Sonu Sood. Now it’s wait and see if the Indian consumers like the taste of the Conference pear.
Additional apple campaign
Since three years India has become an important destination for Belgian apples. Out of nowhere, this country has become one of Belgians top 5 of major exporting countries for this product. Thanks to additional funding from Minister Schauvliege, BelOrta can promote the Belgian apples in India in 2017 too.