Melinda stands for excellent apples but it is also a large consortium of 16 cooperatives that bring together over 4.000 small-scale farmers covering around 6.500 hectares of apple orchards in the Val di Non and Val di Sole (the Noce Valleys) area of Trentino. The climatic conditions here (at an altitude of between 300 and 900 m), with over 2.000 hours of sunshine a year, as against the 1.500-hour average of other Alpine valleys), the area’s soil quality and its abundance of water provide ideal conditions for growing apples, a tradition in this region that dates back centuries.
Over 360.000 tonnes of Melinda apples (over 340.000 tonnes of wich are consumed as fresh fruit) are harvested annualy, around 15% of the Italian total, with a approx. 2.000 tonnes a year produced organically. Product quality is extremely high across the various varieties, which include the Golden Delicious (70% of the total), the Red Delicious (10%), the Canadian Reinette (8%), the Gala (5%), the Fuji (6%) and the Morgenduft (1%). New entry Evelina, the new surprisingly apple. In 2003, the Golden Delicious, Red Delicious and Canada Reinette varieties were awarded Protected Origin status, the only ones in Italy to receive this. All the farming concerns (100%) have been awarded Global-Gap certification and all of them respect pest control standards, for D.O.P., IPM and the Melinda Consortium standard.
Optimization of production is accompanied by logistical efficiency. Melinda has bins for the harvest of over 360.000 tonnes of fruit, refrigerated cells for controlled-atmosphere storage for 340.000 tonnes (100% of apples to be eaten fresh) and scientific, computerized selection and packaging systems. Melinda’s six processing centers comply with strict international certification requirements (Haccp, ISO 9001, BRC, IFS).
All this guarantees complete traceability of the product and makes it possible to package up to 1.500 tonnes a day, six days a week, ensuring that the 1.000 customers it supplies to in 40 countries receive their orders promptly and regularly. Melinda apples are no ordinary apples, since they offer more in terms of wholesomeness and flavour. Grown in the ideal mountain environment of Trentino’s Val di Non for centuries, they are now selected and packed using hi-tech systems.
The name Melinda is synonymous with quality. The consortium has gone from strength to strength since it was founded in 1989 and is now a major player on the Italian and European stage. One factor that distinguishes it from many of its competitors is the complete centralization of all its operations (from the management of its selection and packaging centers to marketing, quality control and the administration of its personnel), which gives customers considerable cost reductions and enables it to adopt a precise strategic approach, with clear price lists, and standards of production, service and image.
The consortium has been stepping up its foreign trade in recent years. The percentage of output exported grew from 12% in 2001 to 25% (last 3 years average). Melinda already exports its apples in more than 40 countries, and corporate strategy will lead in the coming years to further increases in the number of destinations and quantities exported. In the last years Melinda has invested over 90 million euros on structures and technology designed to offer current and potential foreign customers the very best product quality and service standards and over 20 million euros in solar-powered energy production. It is now looking carefully into the development of new trading partnerships.
More information about Melinda.