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Italy: Blood oranges doing unexpectedly well

Despite the fact that the Sicilian citrus fruit campaign seemed to have started rather badly due to the small grades available, Michele Sodano (purchasing and sales manager for Ortofrutta Mele) reports that blood oranges are actually doing rather well.

Michele Sodano with his father Antonio.

"The lower presence on the market of competing products such as apples, pears and clementines, combined with the sudden drop in temperature and distinctive characteristics of pigmented oranges, meant smaller oranges usually destined to industrial processing have also been selling well."

Demand is lively mostly on the foreign market and the season is expected to last until mid-April. "As regards the domestic market, Ortofrutta Mele mainly supplies Campania, where medium-small grades such as 90, 108 or 120 are doing rather well. Consumers who cannot spend a lot still won't make do without blood oranges, especially now that clementines are no longer available."

Ortofrutta Mele has been purchasing and selling Sicilian citrus fruit for the past 5 years and has recently opened a new packaging facility in Calabria to meet buyer demands. 

"Our produce comes mainly from Palagonia (CT), which I consider to be the homeland of Sicilian blood oranges. I usually purchase the fruit in batches rather than by weight and work with trusted producers."

"We will be harvesting the produce purchased in January until late March. The year is going so well that we are expecting to handle double the volumes of 2017."

Michele is proud of every lorry he sees loaded with oranges. Containers are personalised with the company logo and a photo of Michele himself.

What is more, Ortofrutta Mele has recently introduced a new cardboard crate designed together with Ghelfi. The black packaging makes the oranges truly stand out.

"We try to put the utmost care into every detail. You need passion in this sector, as the work is very hard and you need to spend a lot of time away from your family. But while being a trader requires sacrifice, being a producer is even harder due to the unexpected problems caused by the weather. This is why I'm happy things are going well for them this year."

Michele Sodano
Cell.: +39 333 3367869
Ortofrutta di Mele Carmela sas

Via Orlando 29
80049 Somma Vesuviana (NA)
Tel.: +39 (0)81 5307933
Fax: +39 (0)81 5308624

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