Italy: More innovation needed for traditional lettuce

A stable market with low prices and a single product doing well: tomatoes. Things slowed down for lettuce and it was a normal year for pears while apple prices increased by 30% due to the lack of volumes.

Tazio Zavaglia in front of the family stall. Sergio was his father and the business was founded by his grandfather Agostino. 

Tazio Zavaglia is a wholesaler at Caar (Rimini). The company is named after his deceased father. "The only produce which has seen stable prices was tomatoes. On March 29th 2018, plum tomatoes sell at around €2/kg, cherry tomatoes at €1.80/kg, Piccadilly at €1.60 and beefsteak at €1.30/kg. No article saw its prices affected by the bad weather except for strawberries." 

Different types of tomatoes

Artichoke volumes are abundant but average prices are rather low as frost affected quality. "Medium-quality artichokes sell at around 60 eurocents, while standard ones sell at 30 eurocents. Fennel has also been affected by frost in Puglia. The excellent produce from Calabria currently sells at €1.10/kg."

Artichokes from Puglia

At the Rimini market, things pick up in summer when tourists flood the area. Buyers come from as far as Marche.

Fennel from Calabria

"The pear market is normal with €1.80/kg for Abate pears with good grades. Then the price drops by 20 eurocents for each lower grade. Apple prices have increased by 30% this year, and I believe it was due to the lack of produce"

Curly lettuce

Zavaglia has realised that buyers tend to require less and less traditional lettuce. "They mainly demand endive or gentile lettuce. The popularity of Salanova lettuce has also been increasing for some time. We sell it in crates with 6 heads per crate. Each one costs €3. Harvesting in Emilia-Romagna will start around 7th-8th April."


The wholesaler feels more innovation is needed in the lettuce sector, as consumers are tired of the same products. "We try to do our best as a go-between between producers and retailers, which is not easy."

Zavaglia Sergio
Via Emilia Vecchia, 75
47922 Rimini - Italy
Tel.: (+39) 0541 680203

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