A history that started in 1947, when the father of Georg Theiner, now sole administrator of the company, laid the foundations of what was to become a leading business in the processing of apples and pears: Fructus Meran Spa.
The company commercialises top fruit from the Merano and Alto Adige areas. Apples and pears are collected from over 800 producers and are available all year round.
Fruit is cultivated respecting the environment with state-of-the-art techniques that guarantee a final product of the highest quality with an authentic flavour.
"Apple commercialisation practically did not exist seventy years ago, right after the war," explains owner Georg Theiner.
"Even the most basic goods were hard to find and we exchanged our produce for fertiliser, salt and much more, especially with Germany. Up until 1950, apples were not paid for, they were bartered for. Italy started to recover only in the mid-1950s, when post-war reconstruction led to a period of wealth that peaked in the 1960s. It was a slow process, hindered by a traditional agricultural economy."
"For us, things started moving in the 1970s, when we introduced apple processing. We started producing peeled fruit and cooked apples in tins and, in the 1990s, we introduced frozen apples and pears."
Between mid-August and mid-October, the company sets up auctions to trade the produce supplied by Alto Adige producers.
Apples are collected in the evening and sorted according to variety and grade. A starting price is established and each buyer makes an offer. We are talking large volumes of freshly-harvested fruit - 1,000 tons that obtain different quotations every day.
Over 1500 producers supply a complete range of high-quality products every day. The SELECT mark guarantees carefully-selected apples with uniform grades (70 mm minimum), ripeness and colour.
Most of the fruit is cultivated employing integrated production methods that respect the environment and the health of final consumers. The apples are sold mainly to the processing industry, which uses them in yoghurt and other fruit-based products.
"Importers, canteen managers, restaurants and bakery chains are among our best clients. Around 70% of the produce is sold to Germany and Great Britain. Our objective is to find additional sales channels as well as new processing ideas to keep up with an ever-evolving society."
"The apple sector in general is facing a period of crisis because of overproduction, that's why we are interested in the processing industry. Poland is definitely among our main competitors, though our strength resides in the quality of our produce, our large varietal selection and our advanced production methods."
The Chinese are the largest apple producers outside of Europe. "China produces four times more than Poland and eight times more than Italy. Should demand come in from China, we will get organised in terms of phytosanitary protocols, just like it happened for kiwis."
"Of course the political and geopolitical situation of each country affects business relationships. Our brand is available in many markets which, although at times vulnerable, really appreciate our products. Among these, there are India, Brazil and the whole of Africa and the Middle East. We could be reliable partners for China, should it be interested."