Chilean Pink Lady growth to be lower than forecast
The proportion of Chilean Cripps Pink apples eligible to be marketed under the Pink Lady brand is expected to be lower than earlier anticipated, as hot weather causes some production problems.
In 2016, volumes of the Cripps Pink variety in Chile was pegged at around 80,000 metric tons (MT), with 48,500MT sold under the trademark label.
The industry had been expecting Pink Lady volumes to increase by around 15-20% year-on-year in 2017, but some issues with background coloring and sunburn have somewhat reduced those expectations.
Andrés Alamos, South American coordinator of the Pink Lady brand, told Fresh Fruit Portal that coloring had been a concern on exporters' minds during the season.
"We had one of the hottest summers ever registered and this has been reflected - in some cases - on the difficulty in achieving adequate coloring against achieving a good fruit conditioning," he said.
"In March we saw that many were worrying about the fruit coloring, but when we started the harvest at the start of April, there was a drop in temperatures which helped the color to develop."
Alamos said the delay in coloring was perhaps more severe in the northern growing areas compared to the south, but explained that thanks to growers taking great care to follow the correct harvest protocols, the fruit condition had been "very good."
"Undoubtedly, in some areas it was harder to get the color for Cripps Pink, which will translate into a drop in volumes that can be packaged as having the Pink Lady quality - which is demanding in terms of color," he said.
Average Cripps Pink sizing this year of 100-110 caliber means the fruit is well suited to the European market, the representative added.
"[The sizing] has two effects. One is that total fruit volumes can fall about 10%, but this will be compensated by the second effect, which is that the sizes 100-110 are generally the ones that have most options for marketing programs in Europe," he said.
Andrew Mandemaked, quality project manager at Apple and Pear Australia Ltd (APAL), which owns Pink Lady trademark in Chile, said that on a recent visit to Chile and Argentina he had seen some production issues related to the hot weather.
"[In Chile] we had good blush color, but we have some sunburn, and we have some fruit with background color that is too forward," he said.
In Argentina he said there was a "high incidence of ring cracking and calyx end cracking", but good blush coloring.
He added that at this stage he was unable to give a volume forecast for how much of Chile's Cripps Pink production would be sold under the Pink Lady brand.