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The Naturalma® programme 

 


The Naturalma® Programme is a unique initiative of our nursery in accordance with our basic philosophy: “in harmony with nature”. Our producer contacts have made us clear in the past years that we have to begin something different and new in the market of apple grafts so that they will be able to appear on the market and offer the consumers something new.

From the trends of the last five years we felt that there is only demand for apple trees that can be produced in a low-cost level. Therefore either they bear a lot of fruits in the average of several years, or the plant-protection measurements can be executed with lower expenditures. In these years mainly the varieties Idared, Florina and the Golden clones could be sold, while the green coloured varieties (Granny, Mutsu), the varieties that prone to alternation (Jonagold clones), just as the varieties that are susceptible to scab (Gala clones) became less-requested.

Therefore in 2009 we have developed the innovation group of the firm in that we have involved new colleagues. Its task has become the elaboration and execution of the variety-innovation of the Holland Alma Ltd. Our new colleagues have been entrusted to find worldwide new apple varieties that are resistant to plant diseases (mainly scab), have excellent storage capacity, that look nice and – that’s the main point – have excellent taste and quality parameters. We set the goal to find the resistant alternative of the in Hungary produced main apple varieties.

The innovation group has denominated its new task Naturalma® Programme and as a first step it has applied the Naturalma® logo for protection. In 2009 our colleagues have imported the fruits of 60 apple varieties for tasting and storage tests. Beside these we have involved the fruits of 10 other European varieties into the tasting tests. Based upon the results of the tastings and appearance tests following varieties have been selected: Luna, Sirius, Orion, Rozela and Red Topaz. Parallel to this the preparation of the licence agreements for the exclusive Hungarian propagation and commercial licence rights of these varieties and the first propagations have been started. In 2010 we have signed the agreements, just as applied the varieties for the registration process, just as we have started a larger scale propagation of the varieties.

The Naturalma® Programme has a commercial, financial and marketing plan for the next ten years. After two-year preparation work we have publicized our new initiative in November 2010 for the professional audience. We have organized tasting events for the apple producers who have confirmed that we have chosen the right varieties for the Club. Still, the Holland Alma Ltd. does not stop its activity at this stage. New varieties have already been registered in Hungary before, but this itself means no guarantee for either our, or the producers’ success. For the success an intensive marketing activity for the consumers is essential as well. The Naturalma® Programme means this, and even more.

The aim of the Naturalma® Programme is:


The production of uniform, branded, novelty apples under controlled circumstances, with central marketing activity in a producers’ club, the source of which would be provided by the nursery. It is a prestige to be a member of the Naturalma® Club. The production of the Naturalma® varieties itself aims the generation of a premium quality product already, but we also plan to create a section within the Club that aims organic production. The new varieties are all suitable for ecological production that is an even higher added value of the fruits.

Within the confines of the Programme and for the sake of our producer partners we plan to limit the planted area countrywide per each variety in 350 ha. In the Naturalma® Club altogether 1 750 ha would be planted with the five varieties. This is equal to the 4-5% of the planted area, just as 6-8% of today’s apple production. So we can state that this goal is real and achievable.

The Holland Alma Ltd. spends 150 HUF from the price of each Naturalma® tree for marketing activities and 50 HUF for the research and breeding work of new varieties. We plan to establish the plantation in the next ten years by planting 150 – 200 000 trees each year. This means about 23-30 million HUF spent for marketing each year.

In the first stage of the Naturalma® marketing is the information of the apple producers the main task. From November 2010 our nursery organises public apple tasting events for its producer partners and has started the popularisation of the varieties in agricultural and horticultural journals. As a result of the marketing work in the first three months 45% of our commodity pool of 2011 autumn has been purchased by the first four members of the Naturalma® Club. After the first Naturalma® plantations of 2011 the first greater Naturalma® fruit commodity fund will be released in the autumn 2014. We have set the aim to achieve that at the time of the release of the first commodity fund the Naturalma® brand would be a requested and afterwards beloved – due to the intensive publication and popularisation in the mass media. Our marketing activity can be extended to health and education institutes, for the product contributes to the preservation of one’s health. The Naturalma® varieties become a separate website; where beside the information of the consumers there will be a facility to purchase the fruits in advance. We plan to appear in commercial televisions and thematic channels with ads, the direct marketing in hypermarkets and consuming places, just as the publication in women’s and hobby magazines. We would like to achieve that the Naturalma® fruits would be a requested, so called default products at the time of the release to the market. In Hungary there has never been any advertising activity focusing on apple and having several varieties consolidated before. As a preparation activity for the advertising we have surveyed the fruit consuming habits of the citizens in two cities (Debrecen and Nyíregyháza) so far. We are going to carry on and extend this activity in other cities in 2011.

It is well-known between apple producers, that the variety Granny Smith became popular due to the indirect effect of a toothpaste brand. Since this ad has not been broadcasting on commercial television channels, the interest for this variety has fallen back. The results of consumer-surveys show that most of the consumers know only – and superficially - the old apple varieties that exist for a long lime in the market. Only the variety Gala could be mentioned from the varieties that has been released in the past one-two decades. What might be the reason for that? The Gala clones have become acknowledged by the consumers without any marketing activity, only for their taste. During the selection of the new, Naturalma® varieties the main aspect – beside the look, resistance and storage capacity – was the excellent taste. (The results of the public tastings – for producers – are available on our website.) Producers who choose the Naturalma® Club know that in case excellent taste and look meet appropriate marketing assistance, the varieties and their producers are fated to success!


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