According to the scientific study conducted by Professor Christian Fischer of the Free University of Bolzano, the company contributes to a 10% reduction in harvest losses in the apple sector.
An estimated 22 % of fruit and vegetables are lost every year during or immediately after harvest. Much of global food waste therefore occurs at the beginning of the value chain, long before products reach the market.
Through its activities, VOG Products contributes to reducing this phenomenon, thanks to its business model, to efficient planning and the significant technological investments made in recent years. The South Tyrolean producer organisation is one of the largest in the sector in Europe and processes about 70 – 80 % of the Italian industrial apple harvest (20 % of the Trentino-South Tyrol harvest).
The validity of the anti-waste model adopted by VOG Products is demonstrated by a recent scientific study conducted by Christian Fischer, Professor of Agricultural and Food Economics at the Free University of Bolzano, which was also presented at the 2022 International Horticultural Congress in Angers (France).
In the study, titled “The apple processing cooperative VOG Products as a role model for minimising post-harvest crop losses – an empirical case study from South Tyrol, Italy”, Professor Fischer demonstrates how VOG Products significantly contributes to reducing harvest and post-harvest losses in the apple production chain. While internationally apple wastage averages 20 % of the harvest volume, with VOG Products food loss in Italian apples drops to 6 – 10 % (depending on the year).
“Food waste is not inevitable,” comments Christoph Tappeiner, CEO of VOG Products. “With good organisation and investment in innovation along the supply chain, product losses can be significantly reduced, providing a triple win for producers, consumers and the environment.”
The FAO specifically refers to food loss as “the waste of edible food in the production, post- harvest and processing stages of the food chain”. Besides the wastage of the food itself, food loss also entails environmental costs in the form of loss of land, water, factors of production and labour, and leads to greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming.
For VOG Products, food loss already starts with the company’s mission statement: apples destined for industrial processing are those with minor quality defects (too big, too small or not enough colour) or do not meet the quality standards of fresh fruit, and therefore cannot be sold on the table apples market.
“VOG Products is an international model for minimising harvest and post-harvest losses in the apple supply chain,” remarks Prof. Fischer. “VOG Products also generates significant added value for members in the region by giving them a fair and sustainable payout price.”
Growers who deliver their apples to VOG Products’ members (VOG, VIP, La Trentina and 18 cooperatives) receive an average of 4,000 euro per head or 1,400 euro per hectare for their apples for processing. The producer organisation also creates jobs for around 210 employees. The industrial fruit enhancement strategy pursued in recent years strengthens the region’s high-quality image of table apples, based on a win-win approach that rewards all operators along the supply chain. Generating value for the economy, people and the planet.