A season of challenge

Despite intensive promotional measures, Northern Hemisphere (NH) 2018/19 season sales are down by 10 per cent four weeks after the season launch, compared to the 2016/17 season.

The key reasons for the decline include:

  • Weather conditions, mainly in the South of France and Italy, have been the worst in 25 years.
  • The 2018/19 season launch was one week later than usual.
  • The actual volume is less than forecast and the quality is uncertain.
  • There is not much fruit left from the Southern Hemisphere (SH) season.
  • Consumer demand for apples has not increased, so despite supply challenges, prices are lower than this time last year.

It is clear now, given adverse production and market conditions, that a return to normal or increased European production in 2018/19 will not be possible. Over and above the production figures, the slowing of apple consumption combined with other factors such as Brexit, social conflicts (yellow vests) and the evolution of the euro exchange rate have contributed to a complex environment.

Strengthening the Pink Lady® brand

In such an environment, energies are focused to build on strengths, namely the Pink Lady® brand. The first objective is to consolidate the performances achieved in the previous season in terms of penetration and market share gains. There are three working strategies:

  1. Distribution of both loose apples and punnets for the Pink Lady® and PinKids® brands.
  2. A new partnership for PinKids® with the film Hotel Transylvania 3 (an important lever for the development of the “family” target and to facilitate the commercialisation of smaller sized apples).
  3. Multiplication of in-store corporate social responsibility communication, including the expansion of the BeePink® concept in Europe, along with other topics.

Building the reputation

The second objective is to develop the brand’s reputation. Recent research supports the decision to ensure the Pink Lady® communication campaigns provide meaning and proximity. In particular, the “product” campaign launched in 12 countries. This was an unprecedented deployment across digital platforms and social networks with outstanding engagement and reach to consumers (further expanding to Twitter in December). And media investments have reached an all-time high.

Commitment to CSR

Finally, the third objective this season is to maintain the momentum generated in terms of the commitments to corporate social responsibility (CSR) by the brand and its many stakeholders.

The schedule for the 2018/19 season is busy with the following activity already booked:

  • We are Pink (mobilising packing station employees around the season launch);
  • Pink Lady® Day (inviting socio-economic partners into NH orchards and stations);
  • Pink Lady® Talents (rewarding sustainable initiatives);
  • The International Agricultural Show in Paris;
  • Redesigning the “Pink Lady® key points” guide; and
  • Writing the Pink Lady® Europe charter which will list and express all the values and commitments that NH production embodies.


Even though the industry is faced with these challenges, the three pillars of the IMAGINE 2025 strategic plan keep everyone focused to stay the course: Conquest; Reputation; Commitment.

For more information contact Julia Savin, Communication and PR Manager, Pink Lady Europe at

Pink Lady® apples

About the Author:

Pink Lady® is recognised as #1 apple brand in the world and is owned by Apple and Pear Australia Limited (APAL).