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he owners and developers of the apple brand are looking forward to good sales in 2024

The new apple brand Soluna was introduced to the world for the first time at Asia Fruit Logistica two years ago. 

The brand developers have said that, since then, it has exceeded expectations.

2023 saw the first of sales of Soluna-branded apples by WA Farm Direct, the exclusive Australian licensed exporter in Hong Kong, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, and Dubai.

Sean Engelbrecht, national development manager at WA Farm Direct, noted that the first year with the Soluna brand on the market could not have gone better.

“The brand was accepted by all markets, and we managed to increase sales in the first year,” he commented, adding that there were great expectations for sales in 2024.

The new variety of dark burgundy-coloured apples is managed and marketed globally by TopStar, which said consumers loved the brand and export programmes exceeded expectations by 15 per cent. 

”Soluna has outperformed Australian export activities, with exports already representing 30 per cent of the total Australian apple exports, while ANABP 01 is still only 2.5 per cent of the total apple planting in Australia with very young orchards,” the group noted in s statement.

Fruit sales were supported by substantial marketing efforts, which included television campaigns, online sales, a branded food truck and bus, with prominent point of sale material in stores, regular in-store tastings and eye-catching packaging.

Globally, TopStar has established 62 test sites in 16 countries and by 2025, with additional testing developments, the ANABP 01 research programme should cover a network of nearly 115 test sites in 25 different locations internationally.

In Europe the variety is being tested in four countries, Italy, France, Spain and Switzerland. Across the rest of the world, it is being tested in Brazil, Canada, the US, South Africa, Mexico, Chile and Japan.

Currently, it is being introduced to India, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Argentina, Uruguay and, later, China.

The first European research results delivered excellent feedback on taste as well as on the appearance of the fruit, TopStar said, while American partners also received positive feedback from fruit samples that were distributed. Research and consumer tests will be ongoing this year.

TopStar outlined that a technical group was responsible for the worldwide testing of the variety, and sharing information and technical breakthroughs from all global experiences during the evaluation period.

“2023 was also the year that TopStar extended its test blocks from Europe to the rest of their network,” it stated.

TopStar said this was an opportunity for producers across the rest of the world to discover the variety, either during a successful orchard tour held in Australia in March, or in its own orchards, thanks to the expansion of test blocks on its farms. 


Author: Fred Meintjes

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