Europe's low apple and pear crop could spark market innovation
European pome fruit producers will need to look for creative solutions to combat a smaller crop this season with pears and apples predicted to be down 22% and 9% year-on-year respectively, according to industry chief Philippe Binard.
World Apple and Pear Association (WAPA) secretary general Binard, told www.freshfruitportal.com, after the opening day of Prognosfruit 2012 that the European market had been difficult for the last few years.
"It has not been easy with consumption declines for all fresh fruit and vegetable categories," he said.
"Apples and pears have had to compete with other products and there has been the economic crisis. It's important that products have innovation in marketing, that there's research for new varieties and new branding."
He said Europe's severe weather had affected crop volumes in much the same way as the U.S. frosts had hit the Midwest and Eastern states' pome harvests, as well as recent hail storms affecting Washington state's apple crops.
It's expected the U.S. will announce official data later this month forecasting a 15% year-on-year decrease on their apple crop.
"I think the main interest will be to see what will be the market outlook based on this situation. We will start the season without an overlap with the Southern Hemisphere, there will be no stocks from the previous season, the processing side is ready to take new products."
The European apple crop forecast has been announced as 9,739,000MT; 7% lower than the average for the last three years.
Galas will decrease by 6% to 1,070,000MT, while Red Delicious volumes will fall by 18% to 555,000MT. However, Idareds will go up 34% due to a larger crop in Hungary and Poland.
Poland is the only member state to record a larger apple crop this season of 2.8 million MT, due to new plantings.
Turkey's apple crop is predicted to show a 3% year-on-year decrease, while Russia and the Ukraine are expected to increase by 8% and 4% respectively due to new bearing trees.
The pear forecast is expected to show a 22% year-on-year volume drop to 2,629,000MT; 17% lower than the average crop of the last three years.
Conference pears are predicted to see a 21% drop to 743,000MT, while volumes of the Williams Bon Chrétien variety will decrease by 19% to 255,000MT and Abate Fetels will drop 26% to 284,000MT.
But despite what he described as a "relatively small crop" he stressed that the outlook was "positive".
Prognosfruit 2012 has attracted a record number of 260 delegates from throughout Europe, who will listen to talks on market analysis and outlooks as well as taking part in a panel discussion on consumer trends and marketing opportunities.