"This is an unprecedented situation: the fresh produce sector is doing its part, but with great sacrifice from all operators. Sales are fluctuating a lot both in Italy and abroad: for example, demand skyrocketed last week but has now dropped considerably," reports Stefano Pezzo, president of Fruitimprese Veneto.
Fruitimprese Veneto president Stefano Pezzo
"Of course consumer habits have changed: they tend to buy at fewer times but they buy more. To us, this means a change in our relationship with big retail chains. Online sales have skyrocketed but, as retailers are not structured to support such demand, times are so long that it is impossible to meet demand."
Produce processing companies have seen their expenses increase by 20-30%. "Managing the emergency with fewer personnel, maintaining social distancing, disinfecting more frequently, arranging double shifts and a less efficient warehouse lead to an increase in costs, though prices have remained the same."
Fruitimprese Veneto is trying to help its associates by answering any questions they may have. "Those who export have to deal with the transport situation. Anyway foreign sales of apples, kiwifruit, radicchio, tomatoes and carrots are rather sustained. Citrus fruit, including oranges and lemons, is also popular."
As for imports, "demand for pears is high due to the lack of Italian produce. Williams from Argentina and South Africa are now arriving."