The efforts made by agricultural producers to defend their crops using integrated organic and agrochemical methods have not produced any result on the image that consumers have of the sector.
On the contrary, the perception of citizens, especially if they live in rural areas, has actually worsened over recent years, despite the improvements introduced, highlighting the fact that there has not been enough communication and that it is necessary to focus with determination on all aspects connected to sustainability.
Consumers that were interviewed, predominantly young people with a medium to high educational level, in other words those who are more sensitive to new purchasing tendencies, showed a good knowledge of apples, in that they were able to remember not only the average purchase price but they are also aware of the delta between the production and purchase price, that it to say, if 100 represents the price normally paid for a kilo of apples, the percentage that is paid to the farmer is the equivalent of about 20-25%. Finally, they know about the main apple varieties, and 6 of the 10 people interviewed state that they choose apples on the basis of this parameter.
However it is in relation to the awareness of the socio-economic impact in terms of employment and connected industries of Italian apple growing that the most surprising results emerge: if you compare consumers’ perception at the start and the end of the interview, there was a clear increase in positive judgement on the part of interviewees.
It was sufficient to provide some elements of information that relate to the supply chain – over 30.000 jobs, rigorous controls on the healthiness of products, defense against soil erosion, the preservation of the rural landscape, the Dop and Igp labels, the widespread presence of small family-run companies – to obtain a noticeable improvement in the perception of interviewees regarding both the socio-economic importance and the environmental impact that apple growing has in our Country.