Home' Grower : November 2012 Contents The South Australian Grower -- November 2012
New fresh produce battlefront
By ASHLEY WALMSLEY
THE supermarket price war
could shift to fresh produce as
major retailers hone-in on the
sector's strong growth potential.
But they will continue their balanc-
ing act between public image and
price positioning, according to horti-
culture industry analyst, Marc Soccio.
The senior analyst for Rabobank
Food and Agribusiness Research
Advisory conducted a speaking tour
throughout Queensland in
September, making a stop at major
horticulture production areas.
His session at Bundaberg drew rep-
resentatives from just about every
local commodity keen to hear his
thoughts on the changing habits of
fresh-produce retailers and con-
"Fresh is very much key to the
strategy retailers are trying to exe-
cute in their businesses, so we are
seeing more and more focus on
fresh, and they really see that as a key
element to their business growth and
profitability into the future," Mr
Mr Soccio displayed graphs show-
ing Woolworths' dominance of the
sector, with Coles in second position
and Aldi moving into third spot,
overtaking IGA stores in fresh pro-
But another graph showed that
consumers still believed the best
quality fruit and vegetables come
from independent retailers, with Aldi
the lowest for perceived quality.
Mr Soccio said the importance
given to revenue by the fresh pro-
duce sector could be seen in the
increasing trend of 'partnership
sourcing' where major retailers
bypass wholesalers to go direct to
He said embracing farmer contracts
was not without problems.
At the consumer end, supermarkets
drive and respond to the public's
interest in food.
Mr Soccio said Coles introduced
more high-value lines within its fresh
produce to attract consumers more
conscious about their food and
inspired by television cooking shows.
But not every strategy has necessar-
ily been a winner.
Mr Soccio said Woolworths' 12-
month fixed price guarantees on
selected fruits and vegetables, which
ran from July 2011 to July 2012, had
to be scrapped because it could not
keep pace with market volatility.
The seminar also looked at what
industry groups could do to improve
Mr Soccio used the Banana
Growers Industry Council as an
example of a group that had invested
heavily into getting its own informa-
tion about consumers, giving them a
target market for expansion.
He said the axing of the Victorian
Government's school program, Free
Fruit Fridays, showed that the fresh
produce trade was still in battle with
Coles continues to gain ground on Woolworths, as
indicated by its earnings before net interest and
This graph shows Coles leaning more towards
direct farmer contracts. Source: WES Company
briefing and Rabobank.
Spicy pear takes bite of Macfrut glory
A RED pear with a spicy, vanilla
and cinnamon flavour has taken
out the top award at this year's
Macfrut Oscars in Cesena, Italy.
The awards were held as part of
the recent Macfrut 2012
international exhibition of the fruit
and vegetable sector.
The Falstaff Pear is similar in
shape to the Abate Fetel.
Walther Faedi, from CRA
agricultural research and
investigation centre of Forlì, Italy
received the award.
The Macfrut Oscars for
innovation livened up the event
that was complete with an
awards ceremony and prizes.
A commission made up of
authority representatives, experts
and professionals assessed the
proposals presented by exhibitors
for the four technical categories.
In the machinery and technology
for selection and packaging
category, a high-precision
weighing system, WD4-125,
manufactured by the Sorma
Group, was judged winner.
The system is particularly
suitable for citrus fruits, able to
weigh up to 100, 1-kilogram
packages in one minute.
In the packaging and materials
category, the winner was the new
package Agita & Gusta (Shake
and Taste) by Bonduelle.
The octagonal packaging for
fresh-cut vegetables, cereals and
pinzimonio ensures low
environmental impact and easier
The Green Line "Dimmi di sì"
('say yes') received the award in
the seeds and fresh fruit and
vegetable products category
thanks to its ability to integrate
the quality of raw materials with
the benefits of milk.
The easy emptying of containers
of different sizes convinced the
judges to award the Tipper Cm165
Flap Fpr, manufactured by Cm Srl,
the logistics and service prize.
Research crowns Aussie organics first-rate
AUSTRALIAN organic products are
rated the highest-quality and
considered almost twice as good as
international organic products.
This is according to the latest
biennial research commissioned by
the Biological Farmers of Australia
and co-funded by Horticulture
The Australian Organic Market
Report 2012, officially launched in
Brisbane last month, shows more
than one million Australians regularly
buy organic products, and that 65
per cent of adult Australians claim to
have bought an organic product in
the past 12 months.
The report is published as a
benchmark for the organic sector,
including everything from meat and
vegetables to grain and cosmetics.
BFA commissioned researchers
from Swinburne University and
Mobium Group and drew on figures
from the Australian Bureau of
The 2012 report demonstrates the
strength and growth of organics in
BFA's Andrew Monk says the
growth demonstrates growing
consumer interest in food and
products grown humanely, without
synthetic chemicals, and with
respect for the environment.
Australian Organic Meats director
Simone Tully says part of being a
successful organic business is being
a passionate advocate and leading
the way in providing good financial
returns back to farming
"Taking a whole-of-farm organic
management approach is good for
the Australian environment," she
Inglewood Farms chief operating
officer Rory Richards says the
biggest challenge that his company
-- the country's largest certified
organic chicken producer -- faced
was to educate the consumer about
the difference between free range
Time to review grape fungicide strategy
THE fight against powdery
mildew this season may need
some different thinking,
according to international grape
pathology specialist Prof Wayne
Crop Care and Nufarm recently
invited Prof Wilcox, Cornell
University, to speak at a series of
seminars designed to help
growers and advisers adjust to
His advice reflects growing
concerns that soon, strobilurin
fungicides may not be relied on to
provide effective powdery mildew
control when applied by
themselves, after resistance was
reported on several vineyards
across Australia last season.
The seminars were held from
late August to early September in
six grape-growing districts,
beginning with Yarra Glen, where
more than 50 growers and
advisers gathered, before heading
to Wangaratta, Irymple,
Coonawarra, Tanunda and then
Margaret River and Busselton in
Industry experts, Dr Trevor
Wicks, Dr Mark Sosnowski and
Barbara Hall from SARDI
participated in the Tanunda
Prof Wilcox said there were two
types of fungicide resistance in
"People who have had
experience with DMI resistance
need to be aware that they
cannot use the same strategies
for strobilurin resistance," he
With DMI, one of the control
strategies is to limit the number
of individuals that survive the
spray by increasing rates or
switching to a more powerful
product in the same group.
"In contrast, when a fungal
colony is resistant to one
strobilurin, it is immune to all
rates of all strobilurins," he said.
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