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An interview with Maurizio Zappatore, Orogel commercial director

Frozen food sees growth despite the coronavirus

The increase in the consumption of frozen vegetables is going on even now, at the height of summer and despite the lockdown. So said Maurizio Zappatore, commercial director of Orogel, commenting on the data for the first 6 months of 2020 compared to 2019.

"Organizing production, processing and marketing in the months of lockdown was not easy - he says - but we managed to maintain our quality standards, without ever lacking supplies. And from February 17 to May 3 the sales of frozen vegetables in the retail channel  increased by more than 25%, in June 2020, a good increase of +14.6%."

It is therefore a growth trend and not just compulsive purchasing, like the one for disinfectants or yeast. And while the large-scale retail trade has recorded significant increases, the food service sector has experienced strong setbacks, even if in recent weeks there has been a slight recovery in the catering sector.

"There is a range of new consumers who started buying frozen foods regularly during the lockdown. And then, realizing the quality, practicality and convenience of the product, they are continuing to look for it. We are very satisfied with this".

However, these numbers are the result of programming and a series of investments that go beyond the coronavirus effect. "In the three-year period 2019-2021 we are going to invest 80 million in our development, after having invested 150 in the previous seven years. For many years we have set ourselves the goal of quality and our efforts have paid off: for some of our products, our market share ranges from 22% to 36%, not to mention what we produce under retailers' brands".

Orogel has the Fruttadoro group behind it, around which some producer cooperatives gravitate. "One of our non-negotiable objectives is the profitability of producers. It all starts with the quality of the vegetables that our partners supply. We have three plants, in three different areas of Italy, thanks to which we are able to process and freeze the product within a few hours from the harvest. These three plants are located in Ficarolo, in Veneto; Policoro, in Basilicata; and Cesena, in Emilia Romagna.

Zappatore has been with Orogel for 26 years. In this long stint he has helped the company to grow by improving the results every year. "Above all we have aimed at innovation - he says - which, in our sector, has achieved the best results in the recovery of traditional Italian food products or in the rediscovery of products and recipes that, nowadays, it would be as difficult to do at home as 50 years ago. But thanks to the commitment of our producers and the great improvement of industrial processes, we are able to bring our products to families' homes by combining high quality and fair prices".

Fruttadoro Orogel Group 
Via Dismano 2600
47522 Cesena (FC)
Tel .: (+39) 0547/3771

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