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Jazz™ and Envy™: much desired apples



“I have seen the best ever apple season in my 40-year career,” states Tony Fissette, head of Enzafruit Europe. Jazz™, Braeburn, Cox’s, Royal Gala and Pink Lady™ varieties have seen their shipments from New Zealand to Europe achieve record price levels. An accumulation of several factors has made this possible: a shorter, historic European crop in 2012 (with no stock by the end of the season), a later start to the summer fruit season, and again a later European winter crop for 2013.  The Enzafruit group’s 2013 export season is ending with nearly 5 million cartons (18kg). “This is just the volume and size we want for our customers.” 
The total New Zealand apple crop for 2013 amounted to around 17 million cartons of 18kg. This is mainly segmented between Royal Gala, the number one variety with 5 million boxes, Braeburn with 3.5 million cartons (still on the decline), and the Jazz™ variety with 2.5 million boxes. Enzafruit is concentrating its new plantings on the Jazz™ and Envy™ varieties. 
In the coming 3 years, for instance, there will be extra Jazz™ plantings of 110 hectares in Europe, meaning an increase of 15%. This means that by 2017, Jazz™ production in Europe will be around 1.5 million cartons (with more than 1 million cartons from France and Italy, and the rest divided between Switzerland and the UK).
As for New Zealand’s Jazz™ produce, the target for 2017 is around 2.5-3 million cartons of 18kg. The USA is also undergoing a very advanced Jazz™ programme of 1.75 million cartons by 2017, with 1.3 million already being packed this year. The newest Envy™ variety is also a much desired newcomer in the premium segment. Just introduced in the USA two years ago, it is already seeing the second best price quotation after Autumn Glory ($50/box), well above Pink Lady and Braeburn ($25/box). The Envy™ variety is a firm, crunchy apple that is sweeter and bigger (60 to 90 mm). Extra plantings of this new exclusive Envy™ variety are being created in New Zealand and also in South Tyrol, with 150 hectares. The current European Jazz™ season is also going very well, as Tony explains.
“We are also seeing a lower European harvest than expected again. We started in October with the same high prices as we had in March, more than 25% above the level of 2012,” Tony points out.

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FROM offers new products on the Russian market


In the 2012/13 marketing season, From® faced a highly unusual market owing to the poor apple harvest in Europe. The lack of high-quality produce brought a steady rise in prices and the limited supplies were naturally allocated to the most loyal clients. The From® mark’s core markets aligned with the European price levels, highlighting the low elasticity of the demand for particular sizes and specific varieties of this premium product.  
The 2014 season got under way with the European crop trending back to normal, leading to confidence that a more balanced price level may make it possible to increase sales volumes, helping to strengthen From®’s stronghold in its core markets, although brand recognition must always be associated with positive connotations. “The objective for this season is to intensify our communications campaign, remembering always that the goal is to increase brand awareness, which is already high in Russia”, said Nicola Zanotelli. “The new products we are offering in Russia include apple juice and pear juice, which we suggest selling alongside the fresh produce in the fruit and vegetable department”. The feedback from the initial trials has been positive, particularly the repeat buying effect among customers who have tried this product, as there is a big difference in quality compared to anything else on the market. The main Russian markets have a strong import structure that does not allow sales strategies to be updated. Specifically, the major retail companies are served by big importers that have become increasingly well adapted to acting as an interface between the European suppliers and the Russian supermarkets.

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A good season for the Cuneo Red Apple PGI

cuneo red

Cuneo red apples are the most attractive ones grown in the Piedmont region of Italy and the new promotion campaign for their PGI, the Identificazione Geografica Protetta della Mela Rossa Cuneo, is under starter’s orders. It will be run by Assortofrutta through the three PO (producer organisation) members of the PGI’s Protection Consortium: Piemonte Asprofrut, Ortofruit Italia and Lagnasco Group. In this segment of the Piedmontese fruit sector around 200 farms have already registered with the PGI control system, with an estimated overall turnover of €13 million. Emphasizing the special quality of red apples from the Granda (big) province of the Piedmontese valleys, the slogan claims: “Bite into the mountain: quality grows high up!”, setting an almost colloquial tone for the explanation of this recent European recognition that begins: “APPLE, will you tell us about the Cuneo PGI?”. It only takes a few words to respond to the consumers’ desire for quality, and “red, crunchy and sweetly melting” is the unprecedented collection of adjectives that reveals the ‘mystery’ of just how good these prized Cuneo PGI apples are, in all their four varieties: Gala, Red Delicious, Braeburn and Fuji, briefly glimpsed in the background graphics.
As Domenico Sacchetto, chairman of Assortofrutta and of the Cuneo Red Apple PGI Protection Consortium, commented: “This is an important start to help to increase brand recognition and strengthen the nutritional and sustainability values associated with it, both in Italy and abroad. For this reason we thought we would do an online promotional launch on the social networks as well, to ensure high visibility and reach the greatest number and diversity of new customers through a dedicated fan page.” Offline, the major retailers will provide the stage for in-store marketing and various types of consumer sales promotions to complement the cross-media communications through both trade and generalist channels. 

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Melinda: 40% more exports by 2017


The Melinda consortium, one of the biggest Italian apple producer organizations, aims to achieve 40 % export volume growth by 2017, in comparison to 2013, both by increasing exports to existing destinations and by increasing the number of destinations, particularly outside the EU-28 area. Regarding the conditions in both its own production and the market in general, Melinda anticipates that its own export volumes will trend upwards over 2013/14.  Melinda will back its plans through a significant increase in the resources it devotes both to advertising and promotion in support of its importer partners’ direct selling activities and to generating demand among consumers.  In the course of the 2012/13 season, Melinda exported over 60,000 tonnes of apples to more than 40 countries.  European destinations still take two-thirds of the volume exported, but both African nations like Libya (up by 119.19%) and Middle Eastern countries (a 47.98% rise) are showing an excellent growth trend. Nevertheless, Melinda’s main export markets are still Spain (11.3% of total exports), Algeria (9.7%), Germany (9.7%), Libya (8.89%), Romania (7.68%), Denmark (7.5%) and the Middle East (7.3%).   As regards organic apples, Melinda’s 2013 crop is estimated at around 1,700 tonnes. Melinda – together with Assomela – has obtained EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) certification, and it shows that apples are the fruit with the lowest carbon footprint (370 g CO2/kg) and also have very low water and land use footprints ( (78 l/kg and 0,92 m2/kg respectively). In 2013, Melinda’s continuous commitment to increasing “true sustainability” also led to its launching a project called HYPOGEUM: the plan is to build a 50,000-tonne cold store equipped with DCA (Dynamic Controlled Atmosphere) inside a mountain between now and 2020. It will be the first facility in the world to store apples underground in a DCA. This project once again confirms Melinda’s strong commitment not only to building up its business but also to protecting the environment.

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La Trentina a guarantee of openness and reliability

la trentina

La Trentina, one of the biggest apple firms in the North of Italy, will again be taking part in the top food and vegetable exhibition in Europe this year. “We have always considered Fruit Logistica a strategically important event for finding new partners and opening up fresh business opportunities internationally”, said Simone Pilati. “The guaranteed origin of our apples and a variety range to suit every taste are the core points of our communication message, which we convey in a coordinated and integrated manner through different media – the printed media, TV, Internet and social websites – as well as at the events and exhibitions we attend, such as our regular date in Berlin with Fruit Logistica 2014.  La Trentina only sells its own members’ products, grown in its own Trentino region. Last season it exported around 35,000 tonnes and its estimates for this year are around 30,000 tonnes of apples, plums and kiwifruit. La Trentina exports regularly to 40 countries in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, as well as to Canada In Europe its main distribution channel is through volume retailers. In North Africa and the Middle East La Trentina works with selected wholesalers. La Trentina takes care of both the trees and the consumer. A proof of the openness and reliability of the consortium is that almost all its farms can boast GLOBALGAP accreditation. This gives the consumers further product guarantees and allows greater openness in its business dealings, with regard to both the consumers and the market, thanks to efficient certification standards and procedures. Also, all its packhouses are certified to BRC/IFS. The consortium’s apples [see product-specific and not organic (=no synthetic inputs) but environmental] have an EPD (Environmental Product Declaration) which certifies their attention to environmental factors and energy consumption. The photovoltaic panels on the packhouses have cut its CO2 footprint and it has also reduced its water consumption and land use. 

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Apofruit exports grow by 40%


The year 2013 ended well for the Italian group Apofruit, indeed, all three companies– Apofruit Italia, Canova and Mediterraneo Group – registered increased turnover in spite of the lower volumes they had handled.  The kiwi crop was down by 8%, but the quality was better than in the previous year so a greater proportion of supplies was available for marketing. The situation was different in apples and pears, however, where volumes were up by 15% and 5% respectively compared to 2012. 
The group strengthened its strong international impetus still further and the proportion of its turnover generated on foreign markets reached 40%. The regions where Apofruit increased its business most were the Middle East and Far East. Confirming how strategically important these new markets are to the group, Apofruit chose the Asia Fruit Logistica exhibition in September 2013 to present its new brand, Solemio, which is reserved exclusively for its kiwi sales on far Eastern markets. 
Canova, 100% controlled by the Apofruit group, specialises exclusively in marketing organic fruit and vegetables. Its sales are up by 8% compared to 2012, largely thanks to the steady growth of its Almaverde Bio brand. Already a leading mark in the Italian organic produce market, Almaverde Bio is increasingly appreciated and in demand among consumers in other European countries.

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The Marlene® competition started in January


From an Italian to a European Brand. This is the path taken in recent years by Marlene®, the brand-name for apples produced by the VOG Consortium, which in 2014 will once again be at the center of an intense promotion campaign in various European countries. It was launched in January in Italy and Spain with a high-impact Marlene® Competition. In both countries, this offers 4 top prizes consisting of a whole week’s free holiday for 2 people in the South Tyrol, at Vitalpina Hotels Südtirol, plus 400 gift vouchers of €40 each for clothing and accessories from the Spreadshirt online store. Until 31 March all Marlene® apple purchasers will be able to take part in this competition simply by connecting to the website and typing in the 9-letter code hidden under every blue apple sticker. After entering their personal details, the purchasers will immediately find out if they are among the 400 lucky voucher winners who will take part in the prize draw for the fantastic top prize. From February through until springtime, Belgian consumers too will be able to try their luck in this exciting competition. In all the countries where the competition takes place, a whole series of supporting communications activities are programmed for its duration, including online and offline advertising, point of sale advertising, social media marketing and intense PR activities. “As it approaches its twentieth birthday, Marlene® continues along the path of European expansion”, comments Gerhard Dichgans, Director of the VOG Consortium. “After the successes achieved in Italy and Spain, our prime brand is setting out to conquer other European markets, where we are confident that operators and consumers will be able to recognize, appreciate and reward the values of quality, expertise, territorial identity and flavour that distinguish it”, Dichgans concludes.

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Pomuni, the «most reliable supplier» of fresh & frozen potatoes


With the introduction of its 3 packing stations and their entire supply chain, the company run by the fourth generation of the Muyshondt family aims to become the most reliable supplier of fresh and frozen potato products in Western Europe. “We are now at the stage of rationalizing our fresh packing activity and the supply chain to the packing stations,” explains their managing director Hans Muyshondt. Heavy investments have been made at Pomuni Trade in Ranst, Pomuni Fresh in Thorembais-les-Beguines and Pomuni France (near Dunkerque). After the acquisition of the 2 packing stations in Wallonia and France in 2010, Pomuni started an integration process at each level of the supply chain. The family company organized a large variety fair for the first time with the participation of all the producers and customers, with demonstration of all the varieties being tested or produced. Dirk Cornelis, growing and procurement manager: “We are ready to achieve 100% satisfaction among our customers, providing constant quality at superior standards.” All the farm contracts are concentrated in 2013, the management of the stock is also now unified and the 3 packing stations are constantly audited in order to improve any critical point. 
“Today we are able to supply new customers in other markets with complete uniformity and the highest quality standards.” Most Pomuni customers have been dedicated on a long term basis, some of them for more than 40 years. “We already supply our specialties to German, British and Nordic customers.” All formats can be delivered, from 1kg to 25Kg. At the same time, Pomuni innovates on the domestic market with new attractive packaging, giving the product better visibility and transparency. Every item is supplied with the customers’ desired guarantee of quality standards. The company is IFS and BRC certified to a high level, and all of its contracted farmers comply with the GlobalG.A.P. standards.
“We give great emphasis on local produce, which is more sustainable and comparable in quality with the best qualities grown in France.” Pomuni also continues to position itself as the top Belgium potato importer, with a 50% participation at Primimport, specializing in trading in early potatoes from Mediterranean countries like Israel, Cyprus and Spain.  The company annually trades in 220,000 tonnes of washed and packed potatoes, as well as frozen products from mashed potatoes like pommes duchesses, pommes noisettes, croquettes, waffles and smilies. “We supply nearly all the Dutch and Belgian retail chains,” says Hans. 
“To increase our position in sourcing, we also work closely together with breeding companies like HZPC, Meyer, Agrico and others. Strategic partnerships also are important in seed potato varieties. In order to improve our reliability for our customers, we sometimes multiply dedicated varieties. “For example, we have been doing this with Exempla for more than 10 years,” explains Dirk. Exempla is a firm seeking variety, with slightly higher dry matter than the standard firm skin variety, with a specific taste.  PE

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ClemenGold – citrus at its best


Four years after its launch, the sweet and seedless easy peeler brand, ClemenGold, is enjoying an enviable position on the shelves of selected Canadian, European and Chinese retailers. Quality, innovation, strong partnerships and sustainability lie at the heart of this easy peeler brand.

Sun ripened and hand-picked by selected growers from South Africa and Spain, as well Australia, Peru and even Morocco; this bright orange citrus fruit, with its lovely peel, has a special taste profile with a well-balanced acid to sugar ratio. ClemenGold also has an excellent shelf life.

“The core value of this easy peeler brand is ensuring that only consistently good eating quality fruit is marked and supplied as ClemenGold. To ensure this, quality inspections are conducted on three levels: at source, on arrival in the marketplace and in-store,” says Michelle Kruger, Global Brand Director at ClemenGold.

With the Citrus Black Spot issue in the EU breathing heavily down the neck of some ClemenGold supply countries, new markets are being explored, and securing the supply of good quality, ‘healthy’ fruit is crucial.

The ClemenGold brand has thus far only included the Nadorcott variety, and the original raison d’être for the trademark was to differentiate and protect the value of good quality for Nadorcott in the face of a growing volume of varied quality.

But to stay ahead of the curve, businesses have to take risks and innovate. New varieties that fit the ClemenGold profile are currently being experimented with and some are already beyond the trial phase.

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Apofruit reports optimum product quality

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The leading group from Emilia Romagna (Italy) has had a good summer season so far. Apofruit’s commercial manager, Ilenio Bastoni, declared: “Currently (July 2013) we are seeing a slight reduction.

“But I must explain to you how all this mistaken idea of denouncing pleasure and praising pain was born and I will give you a complete account of the system, and expound the actual teachings of the great explorer of the truth, the master-builder of human happiness. No one rejects, dislikes, or avoids pleasure itself, because it is pleasure, but because those who do not know how to pursue pleasure rationally encounter consequences that are extremely painful. Nor again is there anyone who loves or pursues or desires to obtain pain of itself, because it is pain, but because occasionally circumstances occur in which toil and pain can procure him some great pleasure. To take a trivial example, which of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain some advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with a man who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no annoying consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no resultant pleasure?”