Slightly smaller crop but with an increase in the most innovative varieties and organic output. These are the VOG Consortium’s forecasts for the 2022/2023 apple season. Having begun with the picking of the first Royal Gala apples in mid August, the campaign will cover all 12 months of the year with a quality product.
Table apple quantities forecast for integrated production are slightly below 450 thousand tonnes, a drop of 3.5% compared to the previous season. Alongside this, the estimate of organic output is sharply higher (+15%) at over 35 thousand tonnes, thanks to the new orchards planted in the last few years. The data reflect the estimates forecast for the South Tyrol – Südtirol, where production will fall by 3%.
With regard to varieties, there is a sharp reduction in Royal Gala (-15%) due to the heavy spring drop. Granny Smith returns to normal levels after last year’s poor crop, while quantities of all the other traditional apples decrease as a consequence of the variety renewal launched by the Consortium in recent years.
The variety plans are also leading to large increases for the new brands and the contract varieties, such as Pink Lady® (+15%), Kanzi® (+11%), envy™ (+35%), yello® (+32%), Joya® (+74%), Crimson Snow® (+40%) and SweeTango® (+32%). The growth in the latest new apples launched by VOG also continues: output of Giga® will double to over 4 thousand tonnes, RedPop® will rise to almost 3 thousand (+40%) and Cosmic Crisp® will increase to 3,500.
At the European level, a slight increase in production is forecast, with a total of about 12.17 million tonnes. This figure is higher than in the last few years, but well below the record crop of 2018. In Italy the situation is similar, with a crop predicted to exceed two million tonnes. A larger crop is also expected in the main European production areas, such as France, Germany and Poland.
“Apart from this, various factors will affect the European market at the start of the season,” comments Klaus Hölzl, sales manager of VOG. “In Europe, we are witnessing weaker demand due to a drop in consumption, while some markets, such as the German one, still have inventories from last year. What’s more, imports from the Southern Hemisphere have not yet dried up.”
Alongside this scenario we are facing the increases in costs of energy and commodities, which producers are unlikely to be able to absorb entirely. “We are predicting a hesitant start to the campaign,” Mr Hölzl continues. “Thanks to our variety projects, we have a rich assortment of apples and so we can guarantee our customers quality fruit for 12 months. We are confident that this strength will enable us to overcome the situation, which however is still difficult for our growers.”
A BENCHMARK FOR THE APPLE TRADE
With effect from the 2022/2023 season, the VOG Consortium is presenting itself to the market under the new Home of apples concept. In fact, VOG is the home where customers can find the best apples for every need and meet the apple experts. It is an organisation based on five factors: origin, expertise, sustainability, and products and brands.
South Tyrol’s ideal apple cultivation conditions, the skill and experience of over 10,000 pairs of hands, starting from the 4,600 growers, the vision of sustainability and a vast assortment that supplies the right product for every customer and every market: these are the strengths that make the VOG Consortium a benchmark for the trade.
“Home of apples is not just a rebranding operation: it is a manifesto of our values and the way we operate,” explains VOG CEO Walter Pardatscher. We account for 6% of total European output and 32% of that of Italy and are present on 75 international markets, so we are the partner of choice for building a complete, modern apple assortment grown by both integrated production and organic methods. At the start of a season with many challenges and criticalities, this position is a source of strength, but also implies great responsibilities. We have to keep on making every effort to create value throughout the production chain, starting from our members.”