Opportunities and challenges in the fruit juice concentrate division
In the fruit juice concentrate segment, AGRANA is successfully striving to tap new sources of raw materials and has set itself the goal of consolidating its strategic position in new growth markets. In principle, there is an endeavor to increasingly source raw materials directly from farmers in the future. In the 2018|19 financial year, AUSTRIA JUICE joined the Sustainable Juice Covenant, a global initiative aimed at making the procurement, production and marketing of fruit- and vegetable-based juices, purees and concentrates 100% sustainable by the year 2030.
Supporting apple farmers in Hungary and Poland
AUSTRIA JUICE currently maintains two projects for direct procurement from growers. In Hungary, since the year 2000, AUSTRIA JUICE has supported local farmers in growing pest-resistant apple varieties that require about 60 % less pesticide than conventional cultivars. Besides financial assistance for the new planting of the trees and ongoing advice over the growing season, the fruit growers also receive purchasing guarantees. A further project with contract growers was begun in Poland in 2007. In 2021|22 about 20% of all apples processed by AUSTRIA JUICE into apple juice concentrate worldwide came from these two projects.
SAI FSA results of Hungarian and Polish suppliers
In contract crop production, for the documenting of sustainable environmental and social criteria at its suppliers’ operations, AUSTRIA JUICE uses the FSA questionnaire provided by the SAI Platform. In the 2020|21 financial year, Hungarian suppliers of disease- and pest-resistant apple varieties, who were selected according to SAI Platform standards, again participated in the mandatory completion of the FSA questionnaire and the external audits. In 2020|21, for the first time, Hungarian contract suppliers of sour cherries, elderberries and carrots also completed the FSA questionnaire and were externally audited on the basis of it.
As a result, AUSTRIA JUICE is entitled to claim SAI Silver (and in some cases Gold) status for three years for Hungarian growers for all raw material categories named above. Back in the 2018|19 financial year, the FSA questionnaire and external verification were also used for the contract growers of resistant apple varieties in Poland. In 2021|22, the Polish supplier farms for resistant apple varieties, as well as other direct suppliers of apples and various berries, were re-verified or verified. Based on the results, AUSTRIA JUICE has been able to advertise at least FSA Silver level for all Polish contract growers of resistant varieties.
As well, FSA Silver equivalence can be claimed under the benchmarking of the FSA requirements against the national legislation of, for example, Poland, Spain and Hungary, when combined with a certification to the Global GAP standard. In total, following the calculation methodology of the Sustainable Juice Covenant and based on the respective juice concentration standards of the European Fruit Juice Association (AIJN), AUSTRIA JUICE is thus able to claim at least FSA Silver level for about 36% (prior year: 27%) of its raw material processing volume.