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Italy no longer a leader in the table grape market

Puglia is the leading region in Europe for table grapes. Its companies produce high quality traditional and seedless red and black grapes with excellent organoleptic qualities.

Nevertheless, this year, the fact that production increased in Spain, Greece and Italy in addition to the 3-4% drop in consumption, is creating many problems for both growers and retailers.

The varieties with seeds are sold on average at €0.40/kg (or more generally between 0.30 and 0.60 depending on the variety), whereas the purchasing price of seedless grapes is at €1/kg. In both cases, competition from Spain and Greece is very strong. Brazil is not as much of a problem as the price of grapes is much higher and is generally sent to the Asian market.

History repeats itself because Italy is no longer competitive due to high labour and energy costs. "We are no longer leading in table grape production. The fact that our produce has a higher quality is no longer enough. What is more, Spain and Greece are improving and their high quality grapes can already be found in France, Germany and Northern Europe."

"Up until recently, people used to say how our produce was inviting. Now though, taste and appearance are not enough, as they have to go hand in hand with a precise and punctual service, constant supply, stable volumes, uniformity, etc., especially as regards retailers."

"We would have to dismantle our production system and be more careful about costs and the market. Instead, our producers still plant without a strategy and not knowing the volumes of the previous campaign or if there are new plants, as in Italy there is no variety register. But in order to be competitive, we must plan, programme and specialise."

Another Italian peculiarity is that, often, big companies that move abroad do not have a platform in their home country to process their produce and supply a better service to their clients in real time.

"We are less organised, flexible and well-timed than the Spaniards. The time has come to meet and find new solutions before we fall behind."

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