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Fruit & vegetable packing
Apple packing solution for apple packers & processors
Apple packing & fresh produce business management software
Farmsoft delivers opportunities to reduce waste during the apple packing traceability & quality control, processing, storage, distribution phases. By enforcing best practices, FIFO (when practical), inventory expiry monitoring, and easy stock takes to minimize waste and maximize packing profit. Use bar-code managed inventory, labeling, 3D pallet storage, to help reduce waste.
Conduct recalls in seconds, with full confidence of accuracy and reliability. Minimize risk by ensuring accurate traceability is automatically captured. Pass audits with ease & reduce compliance costs using farmsofts traceability guidelines. Trace fresh produce up and down the supply chain, over multiple traceability hops. Instantly produce farm records and any other farm traceability records if you optionally use our farm solution.
Minimize your administration costs with automatic paperwork generation. Ensure accuracy of paperwork by having necessary documentation (invoice formats, export documents, transport documents etc) automatically generated based on the needs of the specific customer - ensuring timely and accurate documentation. No more rejected orders because of bad documentation accompanying a shipment. Food traceability software made easy!
Guarantee consistent, accurate, and efficient quality control is performed at any part of the fresh produce handling life-cycle; including during delivery, pre processing, post processing, and dispatch. Create quality control tests based on each customers requirements, and even create a daily factory hygiene test, employee performance tests and more. Accurate quality control helps to improve customer confidence and quality perception. Easily follow fresh produce quality control & fresh produce inventory guidelines.
Monitor orders, assign orders to specific pack-houses (you can have unlimited processing sites in farmsoft), and allow micro monitoring of each production lines output requirements using dashboards. The dashboards ensure the correct products are produced at the correct time to fill orders. Dispatch teams are given details on their mobile device (or PC/Mac) and scan pallets onto orders. Administration teams can see orders are picked and ready for dispatch, and are presented with the correct documents for printing. All of these features result in improved accuracy of both production and dispatch processes.
Optionally use farmsoft Farm Management software with our Post Harvest solution. Using both solutions provides an end to end solution from field to plate. Farm Management by farmsoft delivers full farm record keeping, farm inventory, cost monitoring, budgeting, best practice enforcement, and adherence to international farming standards. Use Farm Management by farmsoft to manage your own farms, or even hundreds of external farms that supply your fresh produce company.
Bulk apples are delivered to the packing shed via trucks or wagons, where it is dumped into receiving bins and sorted for quality and size. Ripe fruit with a greenish tint is placed in special storage rooms where ethylene gas is used to bring out the color. Obvious low grade (fruit that is not suitable to sell for eating due to cosmetic defects) is performed and apples removed and sold for juice or other uses. Fruit that is ready to be packed into crates, totes, or flats is run through a washer and then air-dried and grade sorted automatically. A light coating of natural wax is applied to help the fruit retain moisture and enhance its appeal.
Apple fruit is transported via conveyor belts to the grading tables where it is visually sorted into three grades: top quality, average, and orchard run, and is then carried via belts to the packing tables. During the late 19th century top-grade fruit would be wrapped in printed tissue paper (a technique developed in the town of Orange, California in the 1880s) and placed in the boxes so that the printed names showed between the slats. In the 1920s tissue wrappers were replaced with printed logos, and ultimately paper stickers. Packed fruit is designated by size, based on the average number of pieces it takes to fill a box. In the days of wooden crates, sizes generally ranged from the 100s to the 390s, demonstrating the wide range of sizes. The sizes for the smaller cardboard boxes introduced in the 1950s and still in use today range from the 40s to the 210s, depending upon the variety of fruit being shipped.
Today, apple packing is performed by hand in a small number of packing sheds, even though Sunkist developed robotic packing machines in the 1980s. Packed apple boxes are stored in a "pre-cooler" to prepare them for the trip to market by truck or rail sea or air. Apples were shipped in ventilated railroad cars or insulated boxcars before the advent of the refrigerator lorry
Europe's apple slump is an opportunity for US growers
Apple production is down sharply in Europe this season, while growers in the United States are weighed down by excess supply. This turn of events could provide opportunities for US apple exporters to expand to markets traditionally served by Europe.
The weather took a toll on Europe’s apples. Late spring frosts, drought, excessive heat, and hail damage were all cited by the USDA attaché in Berlin as drivers of a 24% year-over-year decline in European Union apple production. The downturn comes as EU farmers continue to grapple with the loss of a key export market in Russia due to tit-for-tat trade tariffs.
Poland, the EU’s largest apple producer, has been hardest hit this year with dry weather and two damaging frosts driving production down 43% from 2018 levels, according to USDA estimates. Germany, Hungary, and Romania have also taken large hits to their apple production this year. France and Spain, on the other hand, emerged seemingly unscathed and are expected to see year-over-year gains in apple output of 7% and 13%, respectively.
Pears and grapes in the EU were also impacted, with declines of 13% and 14%, respectively, in the bloc’s production of those fruits.
Meanwhile, the US is dealing with trade battles of its own. India and China have imposed tariffs of 70% and 60%, respectively, on American apples. India was the second largest export market for US apples in 2018, but in the first eight months of this year, exports are down by two-thirds. The resulting excess supply has driven prices lower for all US apple producers, not just those who traditionally export their fruit. In mid-September, retail prices for US golden delicious apples dropped to 87 cents per pound on average, their lowest level since the USDA’s AMS Retail series began in 2010.
OVERVIEW GLOBAL APPLE MARKET
Most European countries have a reasonable production, with Poland as a major exception, as the volumes there have dropped by no less than 40%. For their part, China, South Africa and the United States are all happy with the current season and satisfied with their volumes. There is some uncertainty regarding exports. The Indian boycott on Chinese apples has been in place for almost two years, and the Russian embargo is still having an impact on the global market. According to exporters from various countries, Brexit has so far changed little when it comes to exports to the United Kingdom.
The Netherlands: Good sales, but no remarkable volumes
Apple prices in the Netherlands are stable for the time of the year. Whereas in other years prices have fallen sharply after the campaign's opening sales, this hasn't been the case this season. In the end, good volumes have been harvested. The apples of the latest harvest haven't completed the coloring process, but all in all, the quality is looking a lot better than last year.
A top fruit trader said that it is important for growers to remain willing to sell in order to prevent market stagnation. In the Netherlands, apple sales are increasingly focused on the domestic market. Retailers prefer signed agreements and are no longer interested in suppliers who can exceptionally offer them cheap fruit. Traders believe that the requirements of retailers have become extreme. Class I batches are often no longer enough for supermarkets. The product should look almost perfect, and that will certainly become more difficult towards the end of the season.
As regards exports, Germany is purchasing a stable volume; the United Kingdom too, despite the uncertainty caused by the Brexit situation, and Scandinavian purchases have been slightly more important than in previous years. An exporter denounced the nationalist approach in markets such as Germany, with distribution centers from the Ruhr region taking apples from the Bodensee region, but skipping the Dutch ones.
Germany: Undersized harvest, various long-term investments
In Germany, almost all cultivation areas report a moderate to slightly below average harvest; nevertheless, a sufficient volume from the domestic harvest is still available. The German Elstar, Jonagold and Boskoop dominate the supply, which is complemented by the Tenroy, Braeburn and Cox Orange. The Kanzi and the first Jonagored from the country's own harvest can also count on a good demand. Some smaller volumes from the Netherlands, Italy, France and overseas are also traded.
There are some interesting developments underway in the German growing areas. Firstly, the organic acreage is steadily expanding, in particular on Lake Constance and the northern German growing area of Altes Land. The Colina and Deljonca varieties in particular, but also the relatively new Natyra, are gradually gaining ground. The Wellant apple is on the rise in conventional cultivation, particularly in northern Germany. "Given the rising demand, this apple is currently being planted on a large scale in Altes Land, near Hamburg. In terms of price, this apple represents the perfect balance between the most popular varieties, such as the Elstar, and the club apples," said a Northern German wholesaler.
Austria: Harvest is going well, with smaller sizes
In Austria, the sector is not dissatisfied with the harvest so far. Due to the cold spring and the subsequent heat wave, the size of the apples is predominantly below average for each variety. This also applies to the Gala (the main variety), with a current average diameter of 65-70 mm.
Sales in the wholesale market are still going as expected. The price of the Gala has increased from 0.61 Euro / kg to 0.64 Euro / kg and is therefore almost at the same level as last year. The Golden Delicious has become 19% more expensive compared to last month and reached the highest price level in eight months (0.57 Euro / kg). The Kronprinz Rudolf has recorded a 9% increase compared to last year's price. The Idared and Jonagold, however, have been sold for relatively cheap prices in order to keep sales going.
Agrarmarkt Austria currently reports a total of 10,900 tons of apples for storage (organic + conventional). Two thirds of these are Jonagold, Golden Delicious and Idared, with the latter expected to be completely sold out before the new harvest arrives.
France: Good market for organic and export
The conventional apple market is quiet in France. There is still a lot of fruit from the third harvest available, which is resulting in a more aggressive supply. The picture is more positive on the organic market. There is good dynamism since the start of the season, and this market is still growing. French apples are also booming in the field of exports. There is good demand from both Asia and Europe. Importers from the United Kingdom don't yet appear to care much about Brexit and still guarantee a stable market.
Italy: Average harvest
The most important growing area for apples is the Val di Non area (Trentino / Alto Adige region). The plantations there are located 200 to 1,000 meters above sea level. The harvest for the 2019/2020 season is average, although some growers are experiencing a slight decrease (10-15%). Thanks to the temperature differences between day and night, the Fuji variety has a perfect color. The Melinda Consortium, one of the most important and best-known brands, is trying to make its range stand out by introducing new varieties. A few days ago, the brand presented six new red-skinned apples. One of these also has red flesh. The names of the new varieties are SweeTango, Tessa, Gradisca, Morgana, Galant, Isaaq and UEB6581.
Poland: Low volumes and high prices
Due to the frost in May, the Polish production volume is falling by 40%. The Idared, Ligol and Jonagored varieties were the most severely affected by this. In the meantime, the demand has remained the same and this is leading to higher prices. Polish apples are just as expensive as the Italian ones at the moment, so now it all comes down to quality. In this regard, Italy is still better, but according to a grower, this could change within a few years. Poland exports a lot of apples to Egypt and India. Together, these countries fill the gap left by the Russian embargo.
US: Large supply
The harvest in the US seems bigger than last year's, although there are considerable differences between the varieties. The domestic demand for apples is growing and the supply comes mostly from the retail. Exports are also starting to get going, particularly to South and Central America, Asia and the Pacific Rim. The total quantities at the latter destination are somewhat lower than normal. It is important for exports to get off to a good start. If not, the market may have to deal with some oversupply. Given the high volumes, prices are lower than at this time last year.
China: Limited volume of quality apples
The new apple season has started in China. This year, there is a big harvest, but the quality of the apples is not always good. Thus, the volume of quality apples is limited. The price is expected to remain low this year, given the large volume. Last year, the price was very high because the harvest was badly damaged and the supply was limited. This year, things are looking very different.
In terms of exports, a lot is shipped to Southeast Asia. Normally, shipments also go to Europe and the US, but due to last year's high prices, very few have done it this time. Exporters hope that the conditions will be better this year, as the prices will be a lot lower. The Indian government's ban on the import of Chinese apples has now been in place for almost two years. Many exporters hope that it will be lifted soon, as India used to be an important export market for China. In addition to India, Russia has also banned the import of Chinese apples this year.
South Africa: Positive outlook
It is still early in the season; the blossom period has just ended on the Cape, but things are already looking promising in a number of areas. In other places, it is a bit drier, but in general, the weather conditions on the Southwest Cape are fine.
Next week, growers will have to deal with the "November drop" phenomenon, during which part of the apples will fall from the tree. Only then can a good estimate of the total harvest be made.
The first South African apples are harvested in December in the northern province of Limpopo. Those are followed by the apples from the eastern part of the Free State province. The prices are expected to be good. In South Africa, the apples currently consumed have been coming from storage for a few months, but these volumes only represent a fraction of what is produced in the Cape.
Australia: India is a potential market
The Australian apple sector sees a lot of potential in India. It is a large country that is developing economically. Partly thanks to the growing demand for quality products, India could become an interesting market in the coming five years. Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL) recently visited the country and found opportunities to export branded apples. Varieties such as the BRAVO™ and Pink Lady® could be very successful here.
After achieving success in the US, the Cosmic Crisp® apple is now also being launched in Australia. This is happening thanks to an exclusive agreement between Red Rich Fruits and Proprietary Variety Management. The Pink Lady dominates the market, with a 41% share, followed by the Gala (23%) and the Granny Smith (18%).
According to Hort Innovation statistics, between June 2017 and June 2018, 315,185 tons of apples were grown worth $ 465.3 million. This is 6% less than the year before. Exports rose by 2% in the same year to 5,060 tons; nevertheless, the export value fell by 12%, to $ 11.3 million.
"India offers a lot of potential for our Evelina apple"
“We are satisfied with the course of the hard fruit season up to this stage. Since the acquisition of D&G Fruit by Vergro 17 months ago, the sale of apples and pears has risen considerably, ”says Geert Schoofs of Vergro. “The demand for Conference pears is good, both for class 1 and class 2. Our main markets for pears are the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Spain and the Eastern European countries. Although the average price for Conference pears is better than the previous year, there is certainly still enough room for improvement. If all sales systems communicated better, the price would be a lot better. "
Geert Schoofs (left) and David Bambs (right)
“With regards to the apples we are currently only seeing a demand for good quality and larger sizes. This year it will be harder to sell the smaller apple. Nevertheless, I see a favourable evolution in the market for good quality product.
I have been pleading for more than 20 years over the fact that too many, poor quality product is been put into the fridges and that this has a negative effect on the price of the better quality apples. Also this year, I am afraid that there is a large percentage of apples in the fridge that do not meet the quality standards. " Geert emphasizes .
The Evelina apples
For Vergro, the most important market for apples is, Belgium and India. “We are mainly on the Belgian market with Jonagold-like and Red Prince-like apples. In India we started with Evelina and Gala. Due to the sanctions that has been introduced by Donald Trump, the import tax of the American apples is 70% and for European 50%. This has given us more room to enter the Indian market. However, sound quality plays a very important role on the Indian market. The Indian consumer, is a very conscious consumer who likes a sweet red apple, such as the Evelina, " notes Schoofs.
"In addition to the Evelina that Vergro is a marketer of in Belgium, we also have the Red Modoc. We have an exclusivity contract with Lidl international, which is buying the Red Modoc this year. Last year we had around 70 tonnes of Red Modoc pears and this year we have already achieved between 200/ 220 tonnes. We are planting a considerable amount and I hope we can go up to 4,000 tons within the next five years. The Red Modoc is still gaining more popularity with every year and it is a pear that can certainly succeed in the future. Since the 11th of November, the pear has been in the Belgian branches of the Lidl, until the stock runs out. We expect that to be in the first week of January." Geert concludes.
Slices and juice
"Italy: Leni's is the "easy" apple for those not wanting traditional apples"
Leni's brand - coming from Latin roots indicating simplicity, pureness and transparency - was chosen for the new line of products by VOG Products, a leading company in the processed apple sector in Europe.
At the moment, the line includes two products - ready-to-eat bagged apple slices and natural apple juice in a glass bottle. The bags weigh 80 grams, more or less the weight of a single apple, whereas the juice is available in 250 ml and 1 litre bottles.
FreshPlaza talked to Giampietro Perico, business unit manager for VOG Products, at Macfrut 2013. He reported that, "we wish to appeal to those who don't eat fruit any more, like for example school kids for their break or even adults for their lunch."
Once bought in supermarkets, the apple slices can be carried around and eaten any time: "It's a natural product with no preservatives. Only a few drops of lemon are added to keep the flesh fresh."
"Chinese apple production increased, but the top-quality apples are quite small"
The new production season for Chinese apples is well under way and farmers in most production areas are frantically harvesting their crops.
The production greatly declined last year because apple production areas suffered from extreme weather conditions such as frost. This year the conditions are different. The production volume returned to regular levels. The production volume is significantly larger than last year.
Mr. Ma of Tian Zhi Yuan Fruit and Vegetables Co., Ltd. talked about conditions in the apple industry this year. "Around this time in previous years the apple harvest would already have passed the midpoint and entered the last phase of the season. This year, however, the weather conditions delayed the harvest season by 10 days in comparison with previous years. Under normal conditions, around 60%-80% of top-quality apples would be harvested before the early frosts descend, which is usually in the last week of October and the first week of November. This year, however, because weather conditions delayed the production season and Frost Descend already started on the 25th of October, farmers estimate that they have harvested less than 50% of their top-quality apples. The market conditions are not great in such large cities as Guangzhou, Shanghai, Jiaxing, and Shenzhen. This is mainly because the overall production volume is large, but the size of top-quality apples is small. The price only slightly increased."
"The apple price recently increased again. This is not what we expected would happen. People in the industry predicted that the price would fall because the overall production volume expanded. The lower price would have stimulated the apple market. What really happened, however, because of excessive rainfall in west China in particular, was that the apples were slow to turn the right color. Farmers in Shandong waited quite long before they removed the protective pouches from their apples, because the temperature was too high. Farmers who removed the pouches too early were left with apples either burned by the sun or still green. As a result of these conditions, the ratio of top-quality apples is quite small. In the end, the purchase price increased in response to the small supply volume of top-quality apples."
Tian Zhi Yuan Fruit and Vegetables is a company that specializes in the import and export of fruit. Not only does the company supply apples to the Chinese market, but the company also exports apples and pears by sea freight to Indonesia, Singapore, and Thailand.
Mr. Ma further explained that, "The Indian apple market is currently closed to Chinese apples. This is lamentable. The Indian market is an important market for Chinese apple farmers. The only consolation is that exports to Indonesia and the Philippines are currently quite good. The conditions in Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia are normal. The volume of apples stored in refrigerated warehouses increased this year. These are mostly apples of ordinary product quality. We expect the apples to sell quickly in the period from March until June in 2020, because the price will be low."
Apple processing factory
Apple processing factory
Global apple consumption grows
Worldwide approximately 824 million metric tons of fresh fruit were produced in 2013. With 81 million metric tons of apples reaching a respectable share of 12 percent. Thus apples are the most important fresh fruit directly after bananas. Closely followed by wine grapes with 77 million metric tons and oranges with 71 million metric tons. Taking all crops into consideration, the apple is in the 20th position. Quantitatively the most significant crop is cane sugar, followed by rice, corn and wheat.
China is the largest producer
The global apple production is dominated by China. 49% of the global production, that is about 40 million metric tons, comes from China. Far behind comes the USA, with a production of 4 million metric tons they hold the second position. With a share of 4% Turkey is also an important player in the apple trade. Followed by Poland and Italy, the first European countries on this list with market shares of 4% and 3%. There is potential to grow in India. There are massive growth opportunities in India with a production share of 3% set against the total population. As a comparison: Austria has a world market share of 0.47% with an apple production of 375,000 metric tons (approximately 180,000 metric tons grown commercially).
Global apple consumption grows
According to research of the AMI the apple consumption has changed drastically over the last 10 years. The distinction is made between apple producing countries and countries without apple production. In the apple producing countries of Western Europe and Northern America the apple consumption has clearly decreased, -11% in Western Europe and -8% in Northern America. On the other hand consumption on the southern hemisphere has grown by a percentage. And Asia has shown a quite remarkable growth too. The production has increased by 67% in 10 years. In Africa and South-east Asia, regions without apple production, the apple has become increasingly more popular. West Africa exhibits the largest growth in consumption with 175%. In East Africa and South-east Asia the consumption increased with 70% and respectively. These markets are fought over and cause an increasing shift in the flow of goods from a global perspective. Especially South Africa is trying to supply the surrounding markets. Europe seems to be losing its central role on the world market in the fruit and vegetable sector.
Declining apple consumption in Europe
The consumption of apples in the EU (about 500 million inhabitants) is on average 15 kg per person. In Austria the apples are more in demand with a consumption of 19 kg per person. The total apple consumption in the EU is about 7.5 million metric tons. Regrettably a decline is visible in the consumption of apples in the last years. The downward trend is about 2% per year. This is the considerable amount of 150,000 metric tons, and is a major challenge for the European producers.
Asia is promising growth
In the previous season 56,000 metric tons of apples were imported from India and 52,000 metric tons from China. Only Italy and France succeeded to get a foothold at these markets, and only with small amounts. These markets are still developing and to meet the high standards of quality a lot of work still has to be done. For the largest part Asia is supplied by the USA, Chile and New Zealand. The African countries import their apples in the first place from South Africa. In total an amount of 99,000 metric tons was imported in 2014. That is an increase of around 50% compared to 2011. The largest part of the produce went to West Africa, with Nigeria as the largest market in the region. The most important market in East Africa is Kenya. Tanzania has only bought small quantities of apples.
Forecasts for the coming harvest
WAPA (World Apple and Pear Association) estimates this year a harvest of about 12 million metric tons for the 28 EU member states. This is somewhat lower than the very high yield of the previous season. But it is still 7% higher than the average from 2012 to 2014. The first forecasts of the individual countries confirm this. The lower expected yield could relieve the pressure from the market and maybe increase the income for the producers compared to last year. In Poland, the largest apple producer of Europe with 3.75 million metric tons of apples, the harvest could be slightly lower due to the drought. Germany has adjusted its initial forecast slightly upwards, overall cautiously optimistic expectations for the coming season. This year conditions for apples in France were very good. The yield increased by 10% to 1.6 million metric tons of apples. France became the third largest producer of apples in the EU after Poland and Italy. Italy, which suffered from drought too, expects a yield of 2.33 million metric tons (minus 5% compared to the previous year).
The 2015 apple harvest in Austria consists of high quality apples. In total 180,000 metric tons are harvested, this is a decrease of 5% compared to last year.
New Zealand also gave the first estimates of the harvest of 2015-2016. Based on the favorable weather a somewhat larger yield of 551,000 metric tons is expected. Therefore an increase in export volume is expected, especially to Asia. In contrast to the export to Europe, which have decreased in recent years.
Turkey expands its apple production and is the first to profit from the improved export opportunities to Russia due to the Russian import ban on European agricultural products.
The important varieties
Three varieties are responsible for 33% of the production volume. The most important variety is the Golden Delicious with 2.546 million metric tons. Follow by the Gala apple with 1.331 million metric tons and Idared apples with 1.111 million metric tons. The production of Red Delicious and Jonagold reach around 600 million metric tons. On the southern hemisphere Gala is clearly the most popular with 1.8 million metric tons. And in the USA the Red Delicious is with 1.2 million metric tons the most popular apple. Idared is becoming the main apple variety in Russia.
Apple-picking robots gear up for US debut in Washington state
Next fall, in all probability, some of the apples sold in the US will be picked by a robot rather than human hands. That’s thanks to agricultural automation start-up Abundant Robotics, the maker of apple harvesting machines that will partake in Washington state’s next harvest.
Abundant’s picker has more in common with a really smart Hoover vacuum than a human hand. The robot moves down rows of orchards and uses artificial intelligence with a dash of LIDAR to search for ripe apples. Once spotted, a robotic arm with a vacuum gently sucks the apples from the tree into a bin. The achievement is owed to advances not only in machine learning and robotics but also in agriculture. The architecture of apple trees has evolved over the decades, and it’s now common to grow them on trellises like you would tomatoes or cucumbers. Modern apple trees are also smaller, derived from dwarf varietals that yield more per acre and produce fruit more quickly after being planted.
These horticultural leaps have allowed farmers to double their apple yields. They’ve also made the job of picking easier for humans and, now, for robots.
Karen Lewis, a tree fruit specialist at Washington State University who has worked with Abundant and other robotics start-ups, said that apple trees have reached a “sweet spot” for robotic harvesting. Orchards are now sufficiently uniform and predictable for machines to reliably pick fruit, and canopies are narrow enough for sunlight, the human eye and vision systems to penetrate.
Tech companies that are successful in agriculture, she said, are the ones that listen to what farmers need. “We’re not going to let technology be the driver here. Horticulture needs to be the driver.”
The US debut comes following a rollout in New Zealand, where Abundant began a commercial harvest earlier this year. Abundant CEO Dan Steere said the decision to make the global debut in New Zealand rather than Washington was based purely on seasonal luck. He added that Abundant owed a lot to the Washington growers, who gave the start-up crucial support and feedback in its early years.
“The special thing about Washington is the scale, the sophistication and the openness to supporting innovation,” he said. Steere declined to say how many machines would be put to use this fall or which growers Abundant is working with.
Frost damage may cause up to 85% reduction in Polish apple harvest
For some of the Polish apple farmers, the season is setting up to be a disaster. After two periods of heavy frost preceded by a dry period with hardly any rain, large chunks of the apple crops have been destroyed. Although the produce is already considered an actual apple, the fruit has dropped from the tree too early and is not suited for consumption.
Mohamed Marawan of SaraFruit said: “We have a lot of problems with the apple crops right now. When the frost hit Poland, we tried to protect our apples with spray that would protect them against the freezing temperatures. This did not result in the saving of our produce though. For my own farms, we’re losing about 85-90 per cent of the harvest. Some trees will only give us four apples, so there is no way farmers can make a profit. Prices will be exceptionally high and most of the apples will probably be used for the local market, rather than for export. We don’t know what the farmers will do to keep themselves afloat, but we’re trying to protect the apples that we do have from sickness to the best of our abilities.”
Anna Litwin has had experience in the apple trade for many years and also sees a devastating season ahead: “Although the regions close to me, Warka, don’t have it as bad as others, we still believe that about 30 to 40% of the harvest will be wasted. However I’ve heard from other regions losing between 80 and 95 per cent of their crops. The Gala and Champion varieties have minimal losses, while the Ida Red and Golden varieties are the big losers. Poland is a huge apple producing country though, so I’m sure we’ll have some produce left for export. But it’s going to be a very difficult season for apple growers.”
“After the second wave of frost hit us, we were optimistic. Of course there were going to be damages, but we sprayed the fruit with chemicals to protect them from further damage and everything seemed fine. However now we see the fruits have fallen from the tree. Our farms are located in the center of Poland. Some of the farm-owners I’ve spoken with claim they have lost 100% of their crops. Insurance companies are assessing the damages, however it’s not that bad everywhere. There are quite a few farms where crops are still available. Our assessment is that Poland will have about 40% of the crops surviving, where the rest is too damaged. It’s a sad sight to look at the orchards as it is very hard to even find a couple of apples.” said Emilia Lewandowska, sales manager for Fruit-Group.
For some exporters it is still unknown what the damages will be. Timur Almaszy, export manager of Bart-Ex trade expects to have a full damage report in a week or two: “Until we get that damage report we are guessing at best. Of course we’re going to have losses, but whether we’re talking about 20, 30 or even 40% is very hard to say. Other regions might have it a lot worse than us, as we are located in the East of Poland.”
The NFO reports a minimum harvest for Polish apple growers. Miroslaw Maliszweski is the president of the Association of Polish Fruit Growers, he also thought the damages of the frost would be manageable: “We see now that the trees are dropping the fruits in large numbers. Our information shows that the harvest won’t just be significantly smaller than last year, but also less than the annual average and smaller than the previous frost pestered season in 2017.”
Much lower Polish apple and Italian pear yields
WAPA: EU expects 20% fewer apples and 14% fewer pears than last year
This year's European apple production is expected to come to 10,556,000 tons. That is 20% less than last year. It is also 8% less than the average over the past three years. The European pear harvest is expected to be 2,047,000 tons. This is 14% lower than last year and 9% less than the previous three seasons average. These figures are according to the World Apple and Pear Association, WAPA's top fruit prognoses. They presented their report at Prognosfruit this morning.
Apple harvest per country
Poland is Europe's apple-growing giant. This country is expected to process 44% fewer apples. The yield is expected to be 2,710,000 tons. Last year, this was still 4,810,000 tons. In Italy, yields are only three percent lower than last year. According to WAPA, this country will have an apple harvest of 2,195,000 tons. France takes third place. They will even have 12% more apples than last year to process - 1,652,000 tons.
Pear harvest per country
With 511,000 tons, Italy's pear harvest is much lower than last year. It has dropped by 30%. In terms of the average over the previous three seasons, this fruit's yield is 29% lower. In the Netherlands, the pear harvest is expected to be six percent lower, at 379,000 tons. This volume is still 3% more than the average over the last three years. Belgium has 10% fewer pears (331,000 tons) than last year. They are just ahead of Spain. With 311,000 tons, Spain who will harvest four percent more pears.
Apple harvest per variety
The Golden Delicious remains, by far, the largest apple variety in Europe. It is expected that 2,327,000 tons of these apples will be harvested this year. This is three percent less than last year. At 1,467,000 tons, Gala estimations are exactly the same as last year. The European Elstar harvest will also be roughly equivalent to last year. A volume of 355,000 tons of this variety is expected.
Pear harvest per variety
Looking at the different varieties, the European Conference is estimated to be 8% lower than last year. A volume of 910,000 tons is expected. The low Italian pear estimate will result in 34% fewer Abate Fetel pears (211,000 tons) being available. This is according to WAPA's estimate. This makes this variety smaller than the Williams BC (230.000 ton) in Europe.
Expect more background information and interviews from Prognosfruit in the coming days.
First climate-change resistant apple variety commercialized
T&G Global will commercialise the first new apple variety from a world-class breeding programme, bred to withstand the world’s hottest and driest of conditions.
The apple is the first to be launched from the Hot Climate Programme, a global pan-industry breeding programme, focused on the long-term sustainability of apple production in a changing climate.
Peter Landon-Lane, T&G Global’s Director Innovation and Technical, says with an increasingly warm climate, new apple varieties need to be developed and commercialised to ensure consumers can continue to enjoy great tasting, crisp apples.
“We know the world’s climate is changing and consumers will continue to demand tasty, healthy, safe food that is sustainably produced so T&G Global, along with our partners in the Hot Climate Programme, is preparing for this by developing and commercialising apples that are climate change resistant,” says Peter.
“The first variety to be commercialised is ‘HOT84A1’, which we’ve successfully trialled in Spain, where temperatures reach more than 40◦C. This apple has proven to be sunburn resistant, while retaining excellent eating qualities. It’s a red-skinned, juicy, sweet apple, with a great crunch which we know will appeal to consumers.
“By breeding innovative new varieties, like ‘HOT84A1’, it provides food producers with opportunities to grow apples in regions previously not suitable for production, as well as grow closer to consumer markets.
“In addition, plants which are bred for a specific set of conditions – such as these for a hot and dry climate – are more resilient and require fewer inputs, such as water and fertiliser, and therefore support efficient and smart production systems.”
Initiated in 2002 by Plant & Food Research and the Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA) and Fruit Futur, an association of the main fruit producers in Catalonia (Actel, Fruits de Ponent, Nufri and Poma de Girona), the Hot Climate Programme develops new apple and pear varieties adapted to high temperature growing areas.
At this time, growers in Spain, particularly in the Catalan region, had begun to experience issues with traditional varieties – the fruit was increasingly produced with low red colouring, sunburn, soft flesh textures and higher-than-average incidence of storage disorders.
It was recognised that other apple and pear producing regions would begin to experience these issues as the global climate continued to change, and that varieties developed for these niche environments would be in increasing demand worldwide. T&G Global joined as the strategic commercialisation partner in February 2019.
T&G Global is leading the programme’s commercialisation and has established a global network of six partners to initially test and commercialise ‘HOT84A1’; Waimea Nurseries (in New Zealand), TopFruit (in South Africa), Dalival (in Europe), Worldwide Fruit (in the UK), Montagues (in Australia) and Fruit Futur (in Spain).
Peter Allderman, TopFruit’s Pome Fruit Manager says the programme is significant for countries like South Africa.
“It’s particularly exciting for producers in a country like South Africa, with high temperatures and low water availability which can result in poor fruit colour, texture and pressure issues,” says Peter.
“Combined with increased pest and disease resistance, we believe these varieties will be highly adapted to environmental conditions that are likely to be increasingly faced in countries with hot climates.”
Fruit Futur will plant the first commercial volumes of ‘HOT84A1’ in the Iberian Peninsula in February 2021, and licenses for other parts of the world are expected to follow.
“We want to expand the number of organisations trialling and evaluating the new variety, so we can robustly test it in various global territories. We welcome expressions of interest from growers and marketers worldwide,” says Peter.
ndian importer will look towards Ukraine and Chile for apple imports
“We’ve dropped our 2020 plans with Polish apples”
The Polish apple market might be facing some difficulties in the Indian market. According to one Indian exporter Fruitways, who recently visited the largest fruit markets in India, hardly any Polish apples can be found. What’s worse, two competitors might be taking the favor of the Indian importers, as their prices and quality are simply better than the Polish according to Fruitways.
Saurabh Tanwar is the director of Fruitways, an Indian fresh fruit exporter. After working with loads of Polish farmers, shipping their apples to India, he’s noticed a worrying trend on the Indian market. Polish apples are nowhere to be found. “I recently went on a trip in India to visit all kinds of fruit markets and check out the produce. I noticed the market was slow, with Indian apples being sold between 50 to 60 cents USD per kg. These were imported apples from Turkey mostly, if we look at the local apples the prices were even lower. Think in the lines of 40 cents USD per kg. Now when taking a closer look at these apples, I found that the quality was actually really good! This came as a surprise as Indian apples are usually of lesser quality, not having the right hardness and so on. However when looking at the Indian apples now, the color and pressure were really on point this year. And what’s even better is there was a bumper crop this year, so there are loads of volumes available.”
With the Indian prices being as low as they are, it is almost impossible to make a profit with imported apples, says Tanwar. “You have to think about the costs of transport, getting the apple through customs without having major damages. Take the Turkish apples, for example. After clearing them at the customs office, these apples will have cost you 27.58 USD for 18kg boxes. The same apples are then being sold at 16.55 / 21.09 USD Bushel at the fruit markets, so the Turkish apples have massive losses this year. The apples from the local Indian farmers are truly in demand right now, and with production being very high also, you can imagine the cold chambers are filled to the nooks.”
This is where things could get a little dicey for the Polish apple exporters that have India as their main export market. “The Polish traditionally store their apples in cold chambers, waiting for the Indian supply to run out. This way they get better prices for their produce, which completely makes sense and nobody would blame them for it. Normally the Indian market would have run out of domestic apples by December or January, just after the big national festival ends. This year volumes are so incredibly high, that we don’t expect our stocks to deplete until the month March. So there will not be any demand for Polish apples up until that point.” Tanwar explains.
It goes without saying this will have an impact on the Polish apple farmers who are stockpiling their produce in cold chambers. However they could simply wait a couple of months, right? Tanwar isn’t too sure, as a new player might be granted access to the Indian market soon. “Word has reached me that the Ukrainians have agreed and sent their first test shipment of five containers to India. Once these containers are passed, the Indian market is officially open to Ukraine. Now the Polish have cheap prices for their apples, traditionally. The Ukrainians’ apples, however, are even cheaper. They will prove to be major competitors for the Polish exporters.”
With Polish apples becoming less of an option for Fruitways, Tanwar is heading out soon. His destination will be South America, Chile to be exact. “We’ve been looking at alternative options and Chile is a pretty prominent candidate for the position. The funny thing is; their season usually starts around the end of February, which would be a perfect fit when taking the 50 days of transit time into account. It means we would be able to supply our market with apples just as our stocks in the cold chambers run out. As a matter of fact, the farmers I’m dealing with in Chile are planning to start their season a little early in 2020. Harvesting could start as early as mid-January!”
So for the future, Chile could become the main supplier for apples in India. Tanwar even goes as far as to say they’ll stop working with Polish apple exporters once January has passed: “We’re expecting the first shipment to be sent on the 8th of February. Their quality seems really great so far, with great Brix and pressure levels. Now think about this for a second. As India will have stocks until March and Chile can take over from that point; where does that leave Poland? They have the month of January to send their apples to India, at which point prices will still not be satisfactory for them. As a company we have dropped our 2020 plans with Polish apples and will only do business with them until the end of January. The fact that our last shipment, a single container from Poland, was filled with 70 per cent damaged Royal Galas was the final straw. Chile will become the new project for Fruitways.” Tanwar concludes.
Apple slices have a yellow or red skin depending on the type available. "We are still testing this product on the Italian market and we will have the first feedback at the end of the year."
Favorable weather for Japanese apple season
Japanese apples are now on the market. This is a very good season for Japanese apples with regards to quality and production volume. One exporter got off to a good start in terms of sales volume and customer satisfaction.
Takanori is a manager of the Japanese fruits export company Nihon Agri Inc. “This year, the weather conditions have been perfect for apples expect a few tragic typhoons recently. There was lots of sunlight, enough water and temperature difference between night and day, which has resulted in good coloring and solid shape for the fruits. The apple skins also have less scab compared to last season. Toki (green apple), early Fuji, Shinano Sweet & Jona Gold are already on the market. The export price is similar to previous years.” Takanori said.
Nihon-Agri’s main markets include Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Hongkong and Taiwan. “Instead of using our company name, we use ‘Essence’ as the brand name in these markets, since we intend to deliver the natural characteristic of Japanese apples to consumers.” Takanori explains, “What we saw in recent years is that South-East Asian consumers pay increasing attention to fruit package design. We try to communicate the stories related to the fruits on the package, such as how it was produced, who produced it, or how it was shipped to the retailers.”
“We are collaborating with several supermarket chains in South-East Asian countries, where they placed a special ‘Essence’ shelf in the fresh section, with various types of products from our farms. Lots of customers get to know and become loyal buyers of our brand. When they need fruits, they just go to the ‘Essence section’.”
This year, Nihon-Agri will start to apply promotional tricks in their partner supermarkets to have better communication with consumers and then get better sales. “ In the condition where more and more people in SEA countries suffer from lifestyle diseases, we placed a POP sign beside our apple section, stating the health benefits of eating apples, our sales volume then boosted by 95%. We also tried to change consumer behaviour and placed a POP sign stating ‘Try to smell the apple’ (a good smell is one of the key aspects of our apples)m and our sales boosted by 51%.”
When talking about future plans, Takanori said, “Besides maintaining high-quality, we are more and more realizing the importance of having further communications with consumers. We hope to be able to sell larger volumes in our existing market, and let more people taste high-quality Japanese fruits.”
Red Moon Company shows off new red fleshed apple brand
The Red Moon Company presented Red Moon, the new brand for a series of red flesh apples, for the first time at Fruit Logistica 2018. The aim is to show the diversity of the product in fresh consumption and in processing.
Red Moon apples are suitable for delightful eating, and thanks to its red flesh and texture the company says that they are also great for juices, cider, smoothies and other transformed products as well.
"Consumers are struck by the WOW-effect of the apple, they like the taste and the color. Furthermore, the Red Moon Company is convinced of the nutraceutical ingredients of this nature-orientated and sustainable apple, with a high percentage of vitamin C and anthocyanin," the Red moon Company claimed in a press release.
Due to the increasingly health conscious behavior of consumers and the ever-expanding trend of the balanced diet, the company believes that Red Moon, and red fleshed apples in general, have the potential to become the new superfood.
In 2018 there are already 35 hectares of Red Moon planted in Italy. In France, there are 23 hectares cultivated by specialists in the production of juices, with a tendency to rise. The current aim is to get to 100 hectares as soon as possible.
The foundation of the Red Moon Company means a union of breeder and professionals from Italy, France and the Netherlands: a big pool of expertise in the full vertical chain, from breeding to apple sales. Discover the diversity of these red fleshed apples at the Fruit Logistica, Hall 4.2, booth BO8.
Leni's apple juice is the juice of either 10 or 3 apples depending on the format. It is a tasty natural drink without water, sugar, preservatives or colourings.
Giampietro Perico told FreshPlaza that "apple juice is not very popular in Italy, unlike other European countries. Then again, the culture of pure 100% fruit juices was only recently introduced in the citrus fruit sector as well. Consumers are only just appreciating the shift from juice from concentrate to fresh juices, therefore we feel it is a question of promoting these natural alternatives and getting people to taste them."
Tests are being carried out also on apple juice. The product is always sold in the fruit and vegetable section. Perico affirms that "we wish to intercept those who don't eat fruit and vegetables any more and we want to do it with a practical, convenient and easy to use product. Because today natural products can reach consumers in new ways without losing taste, freshness and nutritional content."
After taking part to Macfrut 2013, Leni's will be in Orticolario from the 4th to the 5th October for the event reserved to nursery gardeners at Villa Erba, on the Lake Como.
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