VOG, organic apples all year round

22 January 2021
The VOG Consortium’s run-down plan is proceeding smoothly and feedback on crop quality is very good. The increased availability of organic apples will allow demand from customers to be satisfied even in the second half of the season. 
The sales season has got off to a good start for the VOG Consortium: positive feedback on the quality side, run-down plan in line with expectations, and sharp increase in availability of organic apples compared to the previous campaign. “For now, we are definitely satisfied with how things are going. Crop quality is excellent in terms of both organoleptic characteristics and fruit size, with both improved compared to last season,” VOG Consortium Sales Manager Klaus  Hölzl comments in his first overview of the current sales season as the new year begins. “Inventory is at the planned levels and everything is going smoothly, and more or less as programmed.” 

The VOG Consortium began the sales campaign with a total quantity of 510,000 tonnes, a 3% reduction compared to the previous year. “The season began with practically all inventories cleared at the European level and with no particular problems in view,” Mr Hölzl continued. “Supply from countries such as France and Spain is lower than last year, and this has been one of the factors enabling us to operate, at least until now, in a stable context and with adequate price levels.” 
Demand is excellent for the Club varieties, not just Kanzi®, but also the newer envy™ and yello®. “Kanzi® ihas established its own constantly growing market and is performing well, but envy™ and yello®, available in larger quantities this year, are also gaining ground within our customers’ assortments, confirming the potential of these two apples, which have very distinctive characteristics tailored to deliver what consumers are seeking.” 

The continuation of the health crisis due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with the onset of the second wave and new restrictions on the public, has not triggered the same level of turbulence in consumption as seen in March last year. “This time we haven’t experienced the panic buying that occurred more or less right across Europe during the first lockdown,” Klaus Hölzl told us. “Consumers seem to have become used to the situation, and are no longer responding by laying in stocks. However, the general uncertainties and the question marks over the broader economy are generating stresses on the markets.” 

With regard to in-store marketing activities, while it has become difficult to organise apple tastings in points of sale and at wholesale markets due to the current pandemic, the Consortium’s other projects are all going ahead as planned. “The digital contest we launched last autumn to celebrate Marlene®’s 25th birthday was a great success in terms of entry numbers, with over 6000 works submitted from 36 countries,” VOG Consortium Marketing Manager Hannes Tauber commented. “The work selected by the jury, created by Francesca Cito, will appear on stickers and packs from February. We’re sure it will provide an attractive note of colour and warmth in all greengrocery departments.” 

There is also excellent news from Biosüdtirol, the VOG Consortium member cooperative based at Lana (Bolzano) specialising entirely in organic apples. “This year we will be able to meet the market’s demand with product available for all 12 months of the year,” director Werner Castiglioni underlines. “Fifty new growers have joined our cooperative, and this has expanded our production area from 650 to 800 hectares, while at the same time the total crop has increased from 28,000 tonnes for the last sales season to 37,500 for this year.” This impressive boost is combined with very high quality and the presence of good-sized calibres in line with the market’s demands. “Flavour, shelf-life and innovation are all fundamental for market success,” Mr Castiglioni continues. “Our cooperative is constantly at work to source new varieties and expand the assortment, as in the last few years with Natyra®, Story® Inored and Bonita. One of our aims is to succeed in covering the summer months, to provide a seamless connection to the new crop. In fact, there are excellent prospects for the availability of apples at the end of the season, meaning from May to July/August”, the Biosüdtirol Director concludes. “We will shortly be presenting three new patents that will enable us to achieve this goal.”

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