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Fabio Zanesco on his new adventure, set to start in September 2024

From apples to kiwifruit - "a thrilling challenge"

"Thrilling" is the adjective used by Fabio Zanesco, the current Head of VIP contracted varieties and new CEO of the Consorzio Kiwi giallo Kikokà (Europe) as of September 1, 2024, to describe the big step he is preparing for. An adventure that will take him to Bologna together with his family and that marks the beginning of a new chapter.

Zanesco, who will turn 45 next month, boasts 20 years of experience in the apple sector. "My career path led to plenty of satisfaction from both a human and working point of view. After a few years in Assomela, I joined VIP in 2007 covering various roles. With our recent reorganization of 2022, I have had the honor and the duty to exclusively coordinate the development and growth of the so-called Club apples, therefore gaining a general view of every single project. Consumer preferences have changed, consumers now make more sophisticated and aware choices."

Fabio Zanesco

"Changing implies great responsibility and our choices were carefully pondered, but it was certainly also an opportunity to grow and explore other aspects. The fresh produce market is becoming increasingly dynamic and I have to say this international project piques my curiosity. The fact that the commercial part must practically be built from scratch stimulates me even more."

Kiwifruit are a basic product for Italy, but Zanesco admits having no agronomic experience. "Just like everyone else, I witnessed the decline and canker that disrupted the balance that had been reached. The kiwifruit segment is currently very lively and, with the current reconstruction and the new 'colored' varieties more resistant to such diseases, a new will to innovate is also emerging."

The golden kiwifruit market needs building
"With groves in Italy, Greece, Spain and France, Consorzio del Kiwi Kikokà (Europe) was officially founded and is set to become more active in the fall of 2024. There are plenty of ideas and they now need to be structured: single sales, single marketing and brand, guaranteed and defined quality, agronomic uniformity, market continuity, sales calendar and much more. The project currently involves a single product, but not a single variety, as there are two yellow-fleshed varieties (AC 501 022 and AC 497 076), with new ones being tested. Compared with apples, high-quality golden kiwifruits are more appealing in this phase, as there is a gap on the market especially during the second part of the season. The objective in the long run is to reach blossoming over 12 months, with the same consortium structure as Chile for a counter-seasonal production for Europe that can supplement the work carried out in Asia."

"As I take on my new role, I will introduce many aspects from the apple world. First of all, strategic planning, which consists in introducing a new product to consumers with its own brand and a jointly-defined multi-producer development plan. We will also build a commercial structure in terms of channels, markets, clients and seasonality. In addition, the segmentation work carried out with apples over the past 20 years can be applied to kiwifruits with B2B partners and many potential consumers. We cannot wait to start!"

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