"The whole supply chain is speeding up to meet the current demand for fruit and vegetables, but we do not know exactly how long this trend will continue. Household incomes are severely compromised by the current crisis, which is not predictable, neither programmable". Luciano Caruso, director of the ABioMed OP in Sicily, described the situation for the international fruit and vegetables sector.
"The volumes that currently seem to indicate optimistic prospects - continued Caruso - actually hide a pitfall, which will show over time, as time inexorably plays a key factor in the state of this worldwide lockdown. What about us? How much longer will families be able to make it in Italy? Will public subsidies be enough? As soon as the economy breaks down, the supply of food and fruit and vegetables will also fall sharply. The hope, of course, is that this will not happen, but we must not forget what happened to the Ho.Re.Ca channel, which has by now practically disappeared."
"Currently the demand is growing rapidly - explained the director - and the large-scale retail channel represents the first choice for supplies, which marks a 50% increase in demand compared to the period. After all, the long queues of consumers to access supermarkets are there for all to see."
"We have not noticed any significant change in the purchasing habits regarding our products. There are no particular preferences for a specific reference, people buy quite voraciously. In this regard, the 2020 programming implemented last year comes to our aid, boosting horticultural production by 20%, which has now proved to be more appropriate than ever!"
ABioMed has approximately 2.500 hectares and, thanks to its members, boasts a total production capacity of almost 90.000 tons of fresh fruit and vegetables. It has 13 processing and storage units, 2 of which are owned and 11 available to members. In 2019, ABioMed generated a net turnover of approximately 80 million euro.
The PO distributes 94% of its production in Italy (in retail and general markets) and the remaining 6% in Europe (Germany, Denmark, Austria, Poland, the Netherlands).
The assortment of fresh products is includes cherry tomato, mini plum, midi plum and tomato on the vine; round, long, violet and striped aubergine; yellow, red, green pepper; courgette; fennel; carrot; artichoke.
Great attention is also given to quality fruit, such as peaches and nectarines, with white and yellow flesh and Tabacchiera variety; melon, in both smooth-skinned and netted varieties; Victoria grapes, Italy and black grapes; apricots; plums.
Other references include processed cherry tomatoes, such as Capuliato, cherry and date tomato sauce, dry and semi-dry tomatoes.