Everything is changing in the fresh produce sector

"The current global scenario is fast, uncertain and risky. The behavior and habits of people are changing and the fresh produce world is changing too," explained Giancarlo Minguzzi, president of Fruitimprese Emilia-Romagna and of OP Minguzzi Spa in Alfonsine (Ravenna) in the report of the annual member assembly that took place on 16th April 2019 in Cesena.

"What is happening is not surprising and was also stressed by a report drafted for Fruit Logistica 2019 called 'Surprises in Store', which highlighted the sector trends as well as how quick it is changing. The data show that 47% of interviewees is willing to pay more for fresh produce of a high quality and that flavor (23%), shape (32%) and size (12%) are increasingly important." 

The 70th National Fruitimprese Assembly revealed negative data as regards our exports.

In the meantime, the organic sector is growing all over Europe with over €92 billion of overall turnover, almost 3 million producer and approximately 70 million of cultivated hectares. Italy holds a share of around 2% with €3.14 billion plus €2 billion in exports. Organic products represent 5% of the total Italian food exports. The value increased five-fold since 2008.

Giancarlo Minguzzi, president of Fruitimprese Emilia-Romagna

"In this context, operators must adopt suitable marketing and communication solutions to meet the customer demand for healthy products and a more sustainable food chain. The classic demand-supply ratio is no longer the only parameter of reference."  

Product crisis
"Everyone knows peaches and nectarines are in crisis even when supply is low. This winter the pear sector encountered commercial problems despite the contained offer. The same happened to apples a couple of years ago. It is not a problem connected to the product, but rather one connected to quality. Consumers are those who determine market trends. Choices are basically made based on a few essential elements: high-quality, certifications, price, flavor and shelf-life." 

Fresh produce and the retail chain
The main critic made to fresh produce sections is that they sell products that have no flavor and with a short shelf-life, especially in summer. Of course this  affects sales." It is no surprise that this low consideration corresponds to a considerable drop in consumption with negative effects on the other subjects part of the chain. Everything is changing, but does it mean everything is lost? Absolutely not. Only if people do not adapt to change."  

"Businesses able to seize opportunities will prosper, while those who cannot are destined to disappear, just as it happened in the past twenty years."

Virtuous examples
"The context does not help and and the entire chain must be overhauled to provide suitable and continuous quality. I would like to draw the attention to virtuous examples of some of our associates who have made it on the international markets thanks to new varieties or by creating consortia. And we cannot forget to mention an Italian company -  Jingold SpA - that won the prestigious Fruit Logistica Innovation Award in February defeating competitors from all over the world."

The market requires well-structured companies
Retailers want their suppliers to be organized and reliable so they can provide high-quality continuous supplies and thus reduce the commercial, administrative and penal risks related to the commercialization of fresh produce. To be part of the supply chain, a company must comply with regulations on social and environmental requirements, food security, the health and safety on workers, transparency and anti-corruption, energy management and data security. 

"The new business crisis code which partly entered into force last month intervened on business organisation, forcing companies to implement an organizational, administrative and accounting setup suitable to their nature and size and capable of promptly detecting a crisis and a possible loss of operational continuity. I proudly claim the strategic role of our Association when it comes to supporting our companies."

Computer security
The computer security of companies is increasingly subject to hacker attacks and data theft (costing Italian businesses almost $900 million/year). "The fresh produce sector is also under attack. Our Association is certainly not neglecting the situation and is actually constantly updating companies as regards network risks and the obligations connected to data processing."  

The assembly fully approved Minguzzi's report and the Association's budget. Silvia Carpio, General manager Assistant and New business of  Gruppo Mazzoni,  Arturo Barbato and Flavio Rossini from Euler Hermes Italia attended.

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