The dry and scorching summer, with very high temperatures and almost no rainfall, affected the entire agricultural industry in Italy and did not spare the apple sector, creating difficult conditions all over the Country for the launch of the 2022 business campaign, also in Venosta Valley where VIP, first organic apples European producer, is based.
Regarding organic apples, fruits are characterized by calibre that is a few millimeters smaller than average. “This is also due to the high heat: the plants went into protection in order to survive and the apples did not grow as much as they could”, comments Gerhard Eberhöfer, Sales Manager Organic Products of VIP, who points out that for organic apples the average size is 70-80 mm. “This is not a problem – he clarifies -, organic consumers are well aware that it is certainly not the size of the fruit that determines its quality”.
The 2022 campaign started this year on 20th August with Gala Bio. It is moving on to Red Delicious Bio, followed by Pinova Bio. The Golden Delicious campaign differs from all others because it lasts for 12 months.
VIP organic production volumes are estimated at -20% compared to ‘normal’ crops. A further -5% compared to integrated production, due to the fact that in organic production when weather conditions are anomalous it is more difficult to maintain volumes.
About quality, Eberhöfer has no doubts: “VIP’s well-known claim ‘First Class Apple Partner’ – he affirms – refers not only to VIP’s service excellence, but also to product excellence. Suffice it to say that we only sell Bioland or Demeter certified organic products”. These certifications are a guarantee for customers, especially in those markets where there is a clear preference for such “extra-plus” standards.
Generally speaking, initial pressure on the apple market in this campaign is expected to be strong.
Therefore, despite its good quality product, also VIP will have to face a saturated market with significantly reduced selling prices and clearly rising costs. In this regard, Sales Manager Zanesco comments: ‘With skyrocketing raw material and energy costs, producers shoulder at least 10 cents more per kilo in out-of-pocket expenses. Sales prices will necessarily have to increase in the coming period, although it will not be easy to find the balance between inflationary pressure and heavily under pressure consumption”.