This is the summary of what Lauro Guidi (in the photo), general director of the Agribologna/Conor Group, says during the "Fruitylife. Frutta e verdura, sana e sicura" videos (Fruitylife. Safe and healthy fruit and vegetables), part of the information and education campaign which also has a website (www.fruitylife.eu) and a"FruiTV".
Fruit and vegetables are at the opposite ends of the scale when talking about fresh-cut ready-to-eat produce.
Fresh-cut vegetables are worth around €1 billion on the market and, despite the slight contraction and fluctuations of the past three years (which are very significant if we consider that the sign had always been positive for the sector up until then), it is now slowly recovering.
"Consumers expect higher quality standards and a wider range of products. In addition, prices are becoming essential: there is a growth of 'ripe' salads in 180-200 gram packets that cost under €2, a testimony of the fact that prices are getting lower and therefore margins along the chain are decreasing too."
The situation is different for fresh-cut fruit, which does not pass €100 million at a national level. Consumption is increasing but it still has to take off.
"This market should be supported along the chain through product innovation and also by thinking of new ways to present it. There is still room for improvement, and we must also take cultural barriers down, as fruit is still considered a product that must be eaten whole, and so the behaviour of purchasers reflects this. There are also many fierce competitors such as sweets and ice-creams, especially in the marketing and promotion fields."
There is still a long way to go, also on the awareness front. In another video on "FruitTv", Cinzia Ferrari, production director, explains all of the processing phases of fresh-cut fruit and reminds everyone that they are "safe, traced and traceable with a very short shelf-life, therefore it is essential to check the production lot and the best before date."