A positive economic balance for the Sicilian Agrumi-Gel. Although the processed red-orange is still the company’s flagship product, the results of the pomegranate juice are especially good.
Antonio Imbesi is the owner and marketing manager of the Agrumi-Gel. He told to FreshPlaza, “The Sicilian pomegranate juice is really something unique. Over time, it will take over that market segment characterised by excellence. The pomegranate demand keeps increasing year after year, especially for the current trend regarding freshly-squeezed juices. Sicily has all the required characteristics for this kind of crop. In the next three years, the surface will be larger and, therefore we'll see a bigger production”.
Antonio Imbesi, “We saw the interest in our pomegranate juice. We started conversations with potential partners that want to bring on the markets for this high-quality niche product. They said that, until now, they had to resort to foreign markets which cannot guarantee high standards. We explained to them that we are equipped with advanced technologies that ensure the high quality in organoleptic terms of our juice. Especially during the Sial in Paris, several customers were amazed by the quality of our product”.
“We process both organic and conventional juices. Mostly, we utilise the Wonderful pomegranate coming from the Sicilian supply chain – this is the most demanded variety. However, we also work the Akko, Smith and Dente di Cavallo (Horse Tooth) varieties. Pomegranate could be the fruit of the future as there is a lot of interest for this fruit coming from research institutions. We hope that this fruit will turn from a niche produce to an actual market segment with an adequate supply chain able to sustain it”.
With regard to the citrus fruit sector and its issues, Imbesi thinks that the actions that the government will carry out for protecting the Sicilian produce will be effective. This sector represents one of the most important parts of the Sicilian GDP. Therefore, it should be preserved by any deregulations and any fragmentations which could ultimately affect the entire supply chain.
“Recently, our historic Japanese partners of the Sumitomo Corporation Foods visited us to check the new pomegranate processing lines and they confirmed the marketing agreements for the next citrus fruit season. This is a consequence of the reliability and reputation of Agrumigel/Sc Foods in terms of ability to constantly supply produce – and also thanks to the quality international certifications we have.
Sumitomo Corporation Foods has offices in Tokyo. It buys fresh fruit and vegetable and processed citrus fruit all around the world. Then, they distribute that to the Japanese companies working within the agri-food sector.
Imbesi concluded, “An increasing number of companies are interested in NFC (Not From Concentrate) juices. Yet, I have seen juices around which do not perfectly match their description. Many customers buy red-orange juice mixed with blond-orange juice at the market, for instance. Thus, on one hand, the red-orange juice consumption increases, but on the other hand, the operators who mix a bad product coming from other countries are increasing as well. Fortunately, we can rely on hardcore customers that want to bring the real pigmented-orange juice to the market”.
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