The VIP campaign in the name of first-class service
Zanesco, Eberhöfer and Laimer illustrate the novelties
These days the 2020-21 commercial campaign of VIP, the Val Venosta co-operatives association, is coming to life with the introduction of the new Golden Delicious, for a seamless service, 365 days a year.
"In general, when the harvest is almost complete, when only late varieties such as envy™ are left on the trees, we can talk about a reduction of about 20% in overall volumes," comments Fabio Zanesco, VIP's sales manager. "A percentage - points out Zanesco - which nevertheless represents the average of very different situations: for Club apples, in fact, thanks to the new plants that have entered production, the final harvests are stable compared to last year. The traditional varieties, on the other hand, are showing a drop of between 10 and 20%, which we expected from spring, given the flowering".
The month of October is fundamental for VIP to plan the sales of the entire production, so that the destocking of the apples follows the needs of the market and, at the same time, can serve the main customers until the arrival of the next harvest. "The general scenario in which we find ourselves fortunately - comments VIP's sales manager - is quite positive. In Spain and France, the volumes are still lower than expected, so at national and European level, it will be possible to find a market balance for the whole year. On a non-EU scale, on the other hand, there are still uncertainties linked to the unfavorable euro-dollar exchange rate and the health emergency at Covid-19. In relation to this, we are ready and structured to deal with possible outbreaks in total safety".
The organic product season is also expected to be positive, with stable quantities of around 32,500 tons. Organic sales manager Gerhard Eberhöfer says: "We have started sales for Gala, Golden Delicious and Red Delicious; we will soon start with Club varieties Ambrosia™ and Kanzi®. In addition to these varieties we also offer the market Bonita, envy™, Kissabel® and Natyra®. Of course, we have a wide range of other traditional varieties, to guarantee the most complete basket and service possible".
All VIP organic production has been processed since last year in the new Castelbello plant of the Juval member cooperative. It is an automatic refrigerated warehouse, with high-rack storage, for the storage of 18,000 bins and 12 processing lines, with a sorting capacity of 18 tons and packaging capacity of 28 tons per hour. A state-of-the-art structure in terms of quality, service, and sustainability, able to guarantee maximum security and flexibility in responding to the various customer requirements, as well as total product traceability.
The marketing campaign is also underway, in B2C and B2B versions, aimed at communicating the company's values and the services that VIP offers its customers. In line with the established positioning of "First Class Apple Partner", VIP activities aimed at professionals and buyers aim to simplify access to information with new means and languages. "These days we have opened the new VIP LinkedIn profile, for direct communication with the sector and a continuous exchange of information and news from the Val Venosta Valley", reports marketing manager Benjamin Laimer.
The VIP training course, aimed at employees in the fruit and vegetable departments of selected retail chains, continues in an online version because of Covid. "We believe that this is - Laimer points out - a key to the work we have to do together with the distribution department to give better apples to the consumer and guarantee correct information: the feedback we receive is positive and we are motivated to continue with new content".
In order to cope with the impossibility of direct contact with consumers, due to the emergency period, ad hoc promotional islands will be set up in recent months within the POSs, with informative, entertaining and intuitive material aimed at helping consumers choose their favorite apple. Thanks to the "Apple advisor" project, each variety is in fact identified by a different color according to its organoleptic characteristics, on a scale that goes from "sour" to "sweet".
“Our propensity for the digital world will be underlined in the coming months with a massive presence on the internet and social networks, through the sharing of authentic, quality content. A B2C digital marketing campaign is planned for the second half of the season to communicate in a unique and innovative way, on the different web platforms, the values that allow us to define Val Venosta “The Apple Paradise".