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VOG: upturn in markets and demand at midway point of season

VOG partners with Sustainapple, the South Tyrolean apple consortium´s sustainability strategy

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”.


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The coordinated image of the New Zealand apples grown and distributed in Italy by the VOG Consortium is getting an update.

A new look has been created for JAZZTM, the brand of the apple variety bred in New Zealand and grown and distributed in Italy exclusively by VOG in Alto Adige/Südtirol.

For next season, the club apple will be labelled and marketed under a restyled JAZZTM logo, as always combined with the ENZA brand of rights-holder T&G Global.

In sixteen years of life JAZZTM, which combines the shape and sweet taste of Royal Gala with pleasant tartness of Braeburn, has grown its market significantly, thanks to its intense, exclusive flavour. The club apple is also a good keeper and is available all year round, since it can be grown in both hemispheres.

In Italy JAZZTM is produced and distributed by VOG. The apple is grown in orchards covering 120 hectares, and 7,000 tonnes were harvested in 2016.

“In a competitive sector like the apple sector, maintaining prestige is vital, as is attracting new customers,” states Gerhard Dichgans, VOG Consortium Director, “the new image of the JAZZTM apple aims to strengthen the brand’s positioning, involving all touchpoints, from packaging to promotions, and from samples to promotions.”

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Yello apple makes its debut at Interpoma

Created in Japan, exclusively harvested and marketed for Europe in Alto Adige - Südtirol, the new yellow apple Yello® made its world debut at Interpoma 2016 in Bolzano

The Japanese-bred yellow apple Yello® – being exclusively grown and marketed for Europe in northern Italy – made its debut on November 25 at the Interpoma trade show in Bolzano.

The new apple variety behind the Yello trademark, Shinano Gold, was created in Nagano in 1993 from a cross between the Golden Delicious and the Senshu. The Yello trademark is now registered in 60 countries.

In 2005, the tree was planted in South Tyrol, the major Italian apple growing area, for the first time and a decade later, in 2015, the first harvest of Shinano Gold grown in Alto Adige – Südtirol took place.

This year, an exclusive license for the production and marketing of Shinano Gold in Europe and the Mediterranean basin was signed between Japan’s Nagano Prefecture and VOG, the Association of South Tyrolean Fruit Growers’ Cooperatives, and VI.P, the Association of Val Venosta Fruit Growers’ Cooperatives.

Yello has smooth alabaster yellow-coloured skin and a sweet, crunchy and juicy centre, they said in a press release.

VOG director Gerhard Dichgans said Yello provides an excellent opportunity to break new ground in the yellow apple segment, historically the realm of a single traditional variety.

“With Yello we also want to write a new chapter in the markets in which the Golden Delicious has for years been left in the shadows, such as in the UK and Germany,” he said.

VOG chairman Georg Kössler said such innovation is key for the future of apple growing in Alto Adige – Südtirol, where over 150,000 Shinano Gold trees will be planted over 2017-18.

Sensory analysis
From a sensory perspective, the pleasant straw-yellow colour of the skin combines harmoniously with its intense and slightly exotic and tropical aroma. This intensifies in the mouth with the appearance of pineapple, pear, honey and lemon peel notes.
The flesh of the fruit is fine and compact, and combines perfectly with its crunchiness and juiciness. Consumers that prefer sweet apples will appreciate its low acidity, notable sweetness and aroma.

Peel: yellow
Flesh: sweet, crunchy and juicy
Shelf-life: excellent
Maturation: 2 weeks after the Golden Delicious
Productivity: like the Gala
Harvest: several stages required
Reduced susceptibility to russeting
Good resistance to bruising
Flesh firmness: 7-8 kg/cm² at harvest  
Sugar content: 14 – 16 ° Brix at harvest  
Acid content: 4 – 5 g/l MA at harvest

Thanks to its slight tropical aroma and notable sweetness it goes well with exotic spices such as ginger, curry or rare varieties of pepper in preparations such as chutney or in sweet and sour dishes, giving them perfect sensory balance. The Shinano Gold apple is also excellent with mature cheeses such as Parmesan or blue cheese.


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VOG celebrates the success of Envy

Thanks to an agreement signed with New Zealand’s ENZA, the distributor and holder of the trademark rights, VOG is Italy’s exclusive producer of the Envy apple, together with the second project partner in Alto Adige, the VI.P. Consortium.

VOG presented a great achievement at Fruit Logistica 2016: Envy.

Thanks to an agreement signed with New Zealand’s ENZA, the distributor and holder of the trademark rights, VOG is Italy’s exclusive producer of this apple, together with the second project partner in Alto Adige, the VI.P. Consortium.

The presentation at Fruit Logistica heralds a significant increase in production. “We have marketed the first significant Envy harvest,” said consortium director, Gerhard Dichgans, “and it has been a great success. The total volume was 600 tons, of which 300 were produced by us: 70% were positioned on the Italian wholesale market and the rest in Spain, with fantastic returns: a meaningful result, as we have never received such a unanimous response from wholesalers with any other variety.”