How has the pandemic affected your operations?
Mirco Zanelli, Commercial Director
The pandemic prompted Apofruit Group to adopt measures to protect its employees: the spaces dedicated to product processing have been expanded, additional specialist personnel have been recruited, processing lines have been equipped with safety devices such as plexiglass panels, and employees have been provided with protective masks in addition to normal PPE (gloves, caps and caps). In order to ensure the processing and marketing of the product, another processing line has been implemented at another of the group’s plants. While we have had more difficulties hiring workers for harvesting, the quality of our asparagus is unchanged, divided as always into: Extra (40%), 1st Category (50%) and baby asparagus (10%), while our acreage has grown to 240 ha for a total production of 1,000 tons. And due to a new specification, which also covers some new varieties, the production of Apofruit’s green Asparagus of Altedo PGI will be 30% higher this year on 2020.
How has it affected marketing, consumption and logistics?
Last year’s March-May lockdown reduced the purchase frequency for perishables like asparagus in favour of products with longer shelf life. This had a negative impact on the campaign in both supermarkets and general markets but was worse for food service. Overall, our output was not overly high and was well spread out over the period, allowing for more regular marketing and avoiding production peaks that can cause price drops. In Switzerland, Germany and the Netherlands, consumption decreased and the presence of local production also affected export volumes. On the logistics front, we have witnessed a slight increase in road transportation costs, mainly due to the initial uncertainty and lack of means.