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The English Apple Man


22nd Sep 2023 - National and Global News

Start of season 2023 - British Apples and Pears Ltd


Talking start of season, and in preparation for British apple month in October, we have issued a press release to long-lead consumer media. The release will also be distributed via the PA Newswire on 1 October to national news media. Expect to see coverage from 2 October onwards.


In my inbox this week, and brought to my attention by BIFGA, an article published in FRUITNET New report suggests massive increase in production and operating costs over past three years has left around 60 per cent of GLOBAL supply unprofitable!!


According to the report, such an outcome will make it harder for consumers the world over to eat a healthy diet. Indeed, to keep their food expenses in check, people will increasingly rely on low-cost staple foods or turn to unhealthy calories, such as those from soft drinks. In addition, the economic difficulties faced by fresh produce exporters in developing countries counter the impact of efforts towards poverty reduction, and threaten the livelihoods of millions of families.


The Global Coalition of Fresh Produce brings together fresh produce associations from around the world, based on their joint vision to create resilient global value chains for fruits and vegetables that bring a myriad of economic, environmental, and societal benefits. The Coalition's mission is to voice solutions to address disruptions in global supply chains for fresh produce, including - but not limited to - rising costs, and share and promote best practices



BAPL - TRADE RELEASE: "Sunniest June for 66 years brings great tasting new season British apples"


Below: Gala harvest underway! While the 2023 crop may be down on last year, many orchards carry excellent yields of very tasty apples.




Below: Ali Capper - Chair of British Apples and Pears Ltd.


"Monday 2nd October 2023 will mark the start of the new British apple season and UK growers say that while it may not be a bumper crop, the taste and flavour of the new season fruit is excellent. The sunniest June since 1957<1> ensured young apples got the sunshine hours they needed to develop the full potential of their taste and flavour. In particular, the sunshine helped to build up the delicious natural sugars in the new season crop.


However, British apple volumes are not expected to match the bumper crop of last year. The extreme heat and drought in 2022 stressed the trees, which has resulted in an inconsistent crop. With some apple trees producing a good number of fruit and others looking a little more sparce - even in the same orchard.


"Last year heat and the cooler spring this year have been challenging for UK growers," said Ali Capper, executive chair of British Apple & Pears Limited (BAPL). "Despite that, we're predicting a very good, but not a bumper crop in 2023. Growers are especially delighted about the expected eating experience of the new season apples. The excellent flavour profile of British apples is certainly being maintained."


This year's weather challenges for UK growers have come on top of continued cost pressures for the industry. "Growing and storage costs are still inflating year-on-year," explained Ali Capper. "With a smaller predicted crop in 2023, this means the cost of production per kilo will increase this year."


Earlier this year, BAPL released results of analysis, conducted by farm business consultants Andersons, that put the median cost of producing a kilo of British Gala apples at 1.26 kg (2)





"Unfortunately, growers are yet to see cost pressures ease," added Ali Capper. "Energy prices are still much higher than they were 18 months ago, and growers are locked into energy contracts. Apple and pear businesses are not getting the support on energy prices from government that many other business sectors are receiving.


"The cost pressures on growers are already causing contraction in the top fruit industry," continued Ali Capper. "Our members are reporting that Cox and Bramley orchards in particular are being grubbed. This is very concerning. We need supermarkets to pay a fair return to our growers to ensure the future sustainability of the industry."


Despite the challenges, BAPL members are working closely with retailers to create in-store theatre celebrating the best of British top fruit. BAPL has also designated October as British Apple Month and will be investing more this year than last year in social media advertising to raise awareness of apples as the 'hidden superfood'.


"The health benefits of apples are sometimes overlooked. But recent comments by Michael Mosely - advocating an apple a day - and new scientific research about the benefits of quercetin have elevated the humble fruit to something of a superfood," said Ali Capper.


"We know the British public is hugely supportive of the British apple industry. This year, there are more reasons than ever to munch on a British apple a day. Not just a treat for your taste buds but your gut, heart, brain and body too!"


For more information about British Apples and Pears Ltd. Click on < BAPL






New report suggests massive increase in production and operating costs over past three years has left around 60 per cent of supply unprofitable


Three-fifths of the fresh fruit and vegetables traded commercially around the globe are now sold at a loss or breakeven price, following an unprecedented increase in production and operating costs during the pandemic.


What's more, those cost increases appear to have greatly reduced the amount of investment going into new projects, which means the effects of that inflation are likely to be felt for some time.


Those are two of the key findings published in a new report by the Global Coalition of Fresh Produce (GCFP), an international thinktank which brings together industry associations including Freshfel Europe, IFPA, CPMA, and Shaffe.


The report, which is based on the results of a survey conducted in early 2023, looked at the increasing cost of fruits and vegetable production around the world, as well as its impacts on the industry and consumers.


Below: Ron Lemaire - President, Canadian Produce Marketing Association & Chair, Global Coalition for Fresh Fruit & Vegetables


"We conducted this global survey to shed light on the challenges experienced by actors in the fresh produce supply chain worldwide," says GCFP chair Ron Lemaire. "The narrative highlighted in this report will help the industry, its partners and all government levels understand the current impacts of the increase in production and operating costs, and work together to address them."


Stark conclusions


The report states that producers of fresh fruits and vegetables around the world experienced "unprecedented increases" in production and operating costs during the Covid-19 pandemic, regardless of where in the world they operated.


Those increases, the report says, were driven by costs of fertiliser (up 60 per cent worldwide), construction (+48 per cent), fuel and gas (+41 per cent), shipping rates (+40 per cent), and electricity (+40 percent).


Most operators were able to increase their selling prices, the report finds, with rises of 11 per cent in Europe, 13 per cent in Oceania and South America, 14 per cent in North America and 23 per cent in Africa.



However, these increases were "not enough" to compensate for the rise in production and operating costs, the coalition discovered, leaving nearly three-fifths of the global industry "selling at a loss or breaking even".


Higher costs have also affected strategic and operational choices, it notes: "Certain producers have reduced their output, while some traders have reduced their export activities or switched to produce with lower shipping costs."


Eighty percent of respondents noted that they had chosen to delay or cancel investment in their businesses, not only in capital and equipment but also in innovation and expansion. "This means that the impacts of the rise in costs will be felt for years to come," the authors comment.


The final report is available on the Global Coalition of Fresh Produce website.


The Global Coalition of Fresh Produce brings together fresh produce associations from around the world, based on their joint vision to "create resilient global value chains for fruits and vegetables that bring a myriad of economic, environmental and societal benefits"




That is all for this week


Take care


The English Apple Man