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Coop Messi brings more varietal innovation and sustainable packaging

Coop Messi brings more varietal innovation and sustainable packaging

 

Coop Messi has invested in more sustainable packaging and varietal innovation for its stone fruit. “We are planting new varieties of peaches and apricots because we want to get bigger fruits with better quality and more intense colouring. We have also invested €1 million in new packaging equipment to obtain much more sustainable paper packaging. The aim is to better meet the recent demand from large retailers and the general public for increased environmental protection,” said general manager, Athanasios Braniotis. Around 80% of Coop Messi’s production is destined for export, mainly to Poland and Eastern Europe, as well as German and Austrian retailers.

Messi Agricultural Cooperative is one of the most dynamic production groups in Greece. It has 450 producer-members cultivating a combined 1,200 hectares. Messi exports throughout Europe as well as to Canada, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. On average, it produces 1 million tons of peaches and nectarines, 200,000 tons of kiwis and 100,000 tons of apples, apricots, cherries, pears, plums and quinces a year.

 

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ASOP Episkopi targets Eastern European markets

ASOP Episkopi targets Eastern European markets

 

ASOP Episkopi has confirmed its focus on exports, especially to Eastern Europe. “Our production of summer fruit, which includes peaches, nectarines, apricots, cherries and plums, runs from May to September and 90% is destined for export. In particular, we favour Eastern European markets, such as Poland, the Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Ukraine and Belarus. The rest of our production is sold on the Greek domestic market, divided between retail and wholesale markets,” said sales manager Nikos Vasileiou. ASOP Episkopi’s products are divided into two macro-categories: alongside summer fruit sits winter fruit, which includes green kiwis and apples, mainly for export.

Since 1987 ASOP Episkopi (Fruit and Vegetable Agricultural Cooperative of the Diocese of Naoussa) has dealt exclusively in fruit and vegetables and has about 500 producer-members. It mainly produces summer fruit such as peaches, nectarines, plums, apricots and cherries, and winter fruit like green Hayward kiwis and apples.

 

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Spanish fresh produce exports fall in May

Spanish fresh produce exports fall in May

Spain registered a 16% drop in its export volumes of fresh produce during May, equivalent to a 5% fall in value, compared with May 2019. “According to Fepex, the marked decrease in fruit and vegetables exports in May was largely due to the increase in domestic consumption driven by the coronavirus and lockdown. Indeed, data from the Ministry of Agriculture showed that Spain’s household consumption grew in May.

According to Spain’s Customs and Tax Department data, the total volume was 1 million tons, worth €1.43 billion. Fruit exports were down 15% in volume Y-O-Y to 678,152 tons, but were worth 10% more in value at just over €1 billion. The most exported fruit in the May was watermelon, which recorded a 10% fall in volume to 148,724 tons, but a 41% rise in value (€112 million). Similarly, melon exports were down 13% in volume to 48,819 tons, but worth 15% more (€53.4 million). Strawberry exports remained stable at 48,995 tons, but were worth 7% more (€88 million).

Meanwhile, vegetable exports dropped both in terms of volume (-16.5%) and value (-6%) to 389,984 tons and €422 million respectively. Tomato exports were down 29% to 38,805 tons and were worth 21% less at €52 million. Pepper shipments fell 24% to 33,796 tons, worth €62 million (-11%). Lettuce exports were down 19% to 41,331 tons, but increased 8% in value to €39 million.

Photo: Mercamadrid
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La California expands melon production in Peru

La California expands melon production in Peru

La California has continued to develop its melon production project in Peru. “For the third year, we are continuing tests in Peru on 5 hectares of Saporito melons. The results are very good thanks to the climate and the suitable soil that prevent fungus formation. With this production, we plan to cover the calendar window not covered by Brazilian melons, which generally last up to February. So these melons from Peru will be supplied from March to April, at which point they will be joined by Spanish and Italian fruit in May and June,” said general manager, Giuseppe Galluccio. Other varieties of melon produced by La California Group in Italy and Spain include Cantaloupe, Piel de Sapo and yellow melon. The production is currently destined exclusively for the Italian market, but projects are underway with producers from Peru and the US to expand both in terms of quantity and in quality.

Based in Campania, La California Group is a logistics leader in Italy and Europe in the packaging and marketing of fruit and vegetables. Over time, it has specialised in the production of Sicilian pomegranate and Tarocco oranges. La California deals markets Italian and imported fruit and vegetables supported by its Spanish subsidiary La California Trading España.

 

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BelOrta: responsive strategies to generate value chains

BelOrta: Emmer karton 500gr pack © BELORTA
© BELORTA

 

BelOrta reacted promptly to find solutions for varieties affected by Covid-19, offering more packaging formats and consumer campaigns and continuing to increase organics and specialties.

 

Belgium’s leading vegetable auction worked hard and quickly to shift products to the retail channel that were left unsold due to the closure of the food service channel. New consumer packaging formats and in-store promotions were promptly introduced, particularly for asparagus, cucumber, and lettuce specialties like Lollo Bionda. Overall, demand for packed products rose sharply. Recycled PET punnets, which had already been successfully introduced, became the most popular. “We have seen a shift back to packaging for hygienic reasons,” said Jo Lambrecht, marketing manager at BelOrta. More sustainable solutions were also introduced, such as cardboard-based banderoles for organic vine tomato. With the rise of the snacking trend, BelOrta has accelerated its shift from plastic to carton solutions, and now offers 500g buckets of snack tomato, peppers, radish and blueberry.

 

Higher volumes of vegetables with better-quality

A survey conducted by GfK in Belgium found that 38% of consumers are eating more vegetables and less meat than they were five years ago. Indeed, retail vegetable sales increased 20% over the same period, according to Lambrecht. BelOrta, too, has seen Belgian consumers shift towards local vegetables. The GfK survey also found that 24% of consumers are eating more local vegetables, a phenomenon that has accelerated since the Covid-19 outbreak. “We have observed a growing interest in consumers looking for recipes, with a higher number of visits to our website https://www.belorta.be/keuken,” said Lambrecht. Meanwhile, BelOrta has strengthened its cooperation with public radio and TV to raise awareness of fresh fruits and vegetables and local produce. One such example is TV cooking programme Un Zeste Local, which uses BelOrta vegetables. The auction has also supported the opening of summer parks, such as with the creation of “The BelOrta Farm” vegetable corners at the Plopsaland theme parks. The goal is to educate young children by showing how vegetables are grown. Product tastings are also taking place in three parks.

 

© Eurofresh Distribution

 

BelOrta supplies the widest assortment

The Flemish Minister of Agriculture was in Borgloon for the launch of the cherry season. During the ceremony, a cheque was presented as a donation to cancer research.  The next BelOrta Product Show will be held on October 8-9, where customers worldwide are invited to come and taste all of the BelOrta products in a single location. The firm, which supplies over 50 tomato varieties, has introduced several new vegetable varieties this season, like Sopropo bitter melon, sugar snap peas, and edamame (sweet soybean). BelOrta has also launched new packaging formats, such as the 2kg cherry box, as well as other products packaged in top-seal rPET punnets. Packing capacity has been increased at the company’s Borgloon and Zellik centres, with new top-seal lines.

A major campaign to promote the consumption of peppers has been launched in France, with brochures and gifts given out to consumers at points of sale. Also, from July 1st, a TV campaign will run on FLAM to promote Belgium’s organic produce, including its fruit and vegetables. 

 

© Eurofresh Distribution

 

More berries, tomatoes and organics

The shift from strawberries to other berries continues. This has been aided by the introduction of new varieties to extend the cultivation cycle of raspberries and blueberries. BelOrta has also increased its winter production of tomato specialties, like vine tomato, beeftomatoes and Ruby Red, with 5ha more glasshouse area under light to a total area of 90 ha. The auction also proposes more winter cucumbers, in total 7ha under light. What’s more, BelOrta aims to start exporting organic produce this season. The auction now offers organic blueberries, with 25.5ha of certified plantation in production. It has also increased supplies of organic endives, cucumbers and leek.  

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China consumes seven times more kiwi than any other country

China consumes seven times more kiwi than any other country © Eurofresh Distribution
© Eurofresh Distribution

 

Kiwifruit is currently enjoying a spell of great popularity across the world, and its period in the limelight is set to continue. Demand is increasing in the major markets, thanks partly to its central role in the booming fruit juice industry and its attractiveness for health-conscious consumers. The growth in the world’s kiwi markets is also being driven by the sector’s constant innovation. Yellow kiwis have enjoyed great success in Asian markets, particularly in China, where consumers prefer sweet-tasting fruits.

There are already several yellow kiwi varieties on the market. Following on from this success, red kiwis are now set to take the world by storm, after JINGOLD won Fruit Logistica’s 2019 Innovation Award with its Dong Hong. Zespri Red’s sweet, berry-like taste is similar to the SunGold variety and is sure to appeal to Asian palates. According to a report published by Mordor Intelligence, the global value of kiwi consumption was US$14.26 billion in 2018, and is expected to surpass US$20 billion by 2025. However, the expansion registered over the past decade is forecast to slow down somewhat over the next six years. With CAGR estimated at +3.9%, market volume is projected to reach 5.9 million tons by the end of 2025. China (2.3 million tons) accounts for 51% of the world’s kiwi consumption, dwarfing the volume consumed by second-placed Italy.

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South Africa’s blueberry production continues to expand

South Africa’s blueberry production continues to expand

While the South African blueberry industry is relatively small compared to other local fruits, it is a fast-growing sector. Indeed, the area planted with blueberries is projected to increase by 17% in the 2020/21 campaign and reach 2,800 hectares, according to SABPA data. The country’s production area has grown at over 30% per annum over the past nine years, largely driven by continued investment by local blueberry growers and the entry of international growers, especially from Europe. The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) has also been a driving force in developing the berry sector by funding various projects across the country and encouraging the establishment of an association, the South African Berry Producers Association (SABPA).

The Western Cape Province is the leading blueberry producing area in South Africa, accounting for over 60% of production, followed by Limpopo (15%), North West (10%), Gauteng (8%), and Eastern Cape (4%). The three biggest producers are Berryworld, Haygrove and United Exports.

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Oranges top shopping lists

Oranges top shopping lists
© Oranfrizer

 

During the COVID 19 emergency, the performance of Oranfrizer’s oranges achieved unprecedented results, with truly extraordinary peaks in March and April. “We have given priority to the national market and we have guaranteed deliveries to Northern European countries with the same stability as ever. In Italy we have recorded a strong focus on citrus fruits, the demand for oranges has been at the top of consumer choices,” said director Nello Alba. “The entire sector has benefited from this. We have seen a 40% increase in red orange sales. What has happened? The consumer is more aware of three valuable elements of the blood orange: it is a precious natural source of Vitamin C, a real treasure chest of many nutrients, its taste is very pleasant and it is Italian. Its origin has been rewarded. If these factors continue to guide consumer choices, we will continue to see growth.”

The 2020 citrus season for Oranfrizer cannot be said to be completely over, as Italian lemons continue to be harvested. This summer’s main protagonist will be Sicili, the lemon with a volcanic soul that ripens in the green plains dominated by Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe. Sicilì will debut on the markets in the coming weeks with packaging created to make the Italian Oranfrizer lemons more recognisable, collected exclusively from the most suitable areas of eastern Sicily most of the year. The package communicates information about the different fruitings that ripen one after the other on the same tree. The attention to the reflowering nature of the lemon tree described on the Sicilì package will make it easier to recognise the origin, seasonality, characteristics of the Verdello, Primofiore and Bianchetto lemons that will follow one another and can be purchased by Italian consumers.

The summer production of Oranfrizer goes beyond citrus fruits, because Sicily is teeming with other fruits, such as flat peaches and apricots, mini watermelons and netted melons, new potatoes from Syracuse, already in distribution. The grapes of Mazzarrone, Cantaloupe melon and Coscia dell’Etna pears will also be available soon. This hot summer will close with the peaches of Leonforte PGI, nectarines, prickly pears and mango. The varied offer of Sicilian cherry tomatoes are constantly marketed, the most sought after being the Ciliegino, Datterino and Piccadilly varieties.

Oranfrizer’s seasonal offer of fresh fruit and vegetables contains only the regional selections that represent the best of the largest island in the Mediterranean. “The forecasts for the summer fruit and vegetable season are good, we do not have a shortage of manpower, consumers are looking for the Italian spirit and our products that reach retailers stand out for their origin,” said Alba. “With the marketing of summer fruits we are committed to making the most of our precious Sicilian crops that during the warmer months explode with truly exceptional colours, flavours and aromas. The fruits already chosen on the field are picked only at the right time. Each harvest is subject to a further careful selection by our workers. Those who reach the tables are the best seasonal fruits, the most characteristic of our territory.”

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NOVO-PACK™, a Polish solution to reduced-weight packaging

NOVO-PACK™, a Polish solution to reduced-weight packaging

Famag was established in 1992 as a family company specialising in trading in packaging. Market transformations, acquired knowledge, and extensive experience prompted Famag to produce its own packaging. Recently, Famag has created a reduced-weight NOVO-PACK™. It is a special mesh packaging for fruit and vegetables to address the changing preferences in the market. It was made possible by investing in research and technology. “Unit packaging will be getting smaller due to the demographics, the economy, and the variety of choice,” said Grzegorz Karaś, export manager at Famag. 

The company is now moving forward in producing active packaging that focuses on creating innovative and environmentally friendly alternatives. “This packaging has the ability to monitor specific parameters to slow down product spoilage,” said Karaś. The active packaging can extend the freshness of goods. This proves to be beneficial as extending the product life on the shelf is a priority for supermarkets to ensure the freshest products for their customers. “This allows customers to trust the brands we work with. We can do something not only for consumers but also to reduce the amount of food thrown away,” said Karaś.

The packaging industry is a very dynamic sector. Despite this, Famag has maintained a strong and stable position in the Polish market. “We listen to the needs of the market and our customers, and adapt the offer to the changing requirements,” added Karaś. 

Famag specialises in the production of packaging for fruits and vegetables. The company exports to Russia, the European Union, South America, South Africa and the Middle East. It uses high-quality PE film welding machines and various types of nets. 

For inquiries: Grzegorz Karaś, FAMAG: export@famag.pl

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Japan’s fruit imports grow despite higher prices 

Japan’s fruit imports grow despite higher prices 

Despite the current global logistics problems, Japan’s fresh fruit imports were up 1.3% in March compared with the previous year, according to Japan’s Ministry of Finance. The country imported almost 135,000 tons of fresh fruit in March 2020, despite rising prices. Japanese households purchased on average 5.61kg of fruit in March 2020, up 2.5% from the previous year. Meanwhile, expenditure increased 5.3% to US$27.

Kiwifruit recorded the greatest year-on-year growth, up 230% to 3,260 tons. This surge in demand is attributable to the earlier arrival of New Zealand fruit this year. There were also increases in most major categories, with banana volumes up 6% to 81,600 tons, pineapple up 6% to 12,200 tons and table grapes up 6% to 8,150 tons. Taking the first quarter of 2020 as a whole, Japan’s fresh fruit imports climbed 2% from the same period in 2019, importing 370,900 tons.