Promoting local productions and adding value to them compared to foreign produce continues to be a pending task in some produce categories, such as apples.
In a world that is concerned about sustainability, both environmental and social, national produce needs to be consumed and today, this is not the trend being experienced in the apple sector, where many foreign companies have gained a strong foothold on the market.
“I think that the national produce has not been correctly valued either by the market or by consumers, in the same way it is in our neighbouring countries, such as France or the United Kingdom. When there is local production, consumers prefer it, regardless of its price,” Josep María Cornell, manager of Girona Fruits explains.
Distribution and variety renewal
The company, which maintains a regular, quality offer throughout the entire year, is immersed in a variety reconversion process to adapt to the new market requirements, a process where the Golden apple will lose its relevance in favour of other more popular varieties, such as Fuji and Granny Smith. The latter is a high quality variety due to its good adaptation to this production area’s conditions. On the other hand, the Fuji variety is the one that will record the largest increase, owing to the plantations that are already under way.
However, and even maintaining this replacement trend, as of today, the Golden variety represents 40% of the company’s total produce. “In the future our balance could reach a point where Golden represents 25%”, Josep María Cornell, manager of the company explains.
The distribution of the varieties at Girona Fruits is made up of around 10,000 tonnes of Golden; 4,000 of Granny; 5,000 of Gala; another 4,000 of Fuji and around 3,000 of other red varieties.
During last season, the Catalonian company reached an overall production of 26,000 tonnes, a figure that will drop slightly this year, depending on the different harvest times. In any event, as opposed to what has happened in Europe, the weather conditions have worked in favour of the Catalonian production and in general, the harvest from Girona has only dropped by 2%.
The company emphasises its interest in promoting the closer destinations, amongst which are the traditional markets, specialist fruit and vegetable stores or the more regional supermarkets.
All of this without neglecting foreign sales, “which could evolve due to different circumstances since the apple market is a highly globalised one.”
And although exports make up a business line to be taken into account, Cornell states that “for Girona Fruits, the national and local markets are the most important because we do not have to depend on a political decision or a plant health agreement.”