The drop in sales of packed salads and, overall, of fresh cut vegetables, started with the lockdown, when consumers were planning their shopping ahead and directed their purchases towards more storable products. With the lockdown, the demand of the Ho.Re.Ca. segment also disappeared.
The situation, which was expected to be temporary, has instead worsened. Confagricoltura announced that 30% of families have reduced fresh cut consumption even after the acute phase of the pandemic, and more than 10% of those who bought packed salads discarded the product (source: Monitor Ortofrutta).
After Phase Two, with some re-openings, sales have remained nevertheless constantly low, around 20%, compared to the same period last year, influenced by a weak demand in the Ho.Re.Ca. channel.
The sector - pointed out Confagricoltura - is worth more than 1 billion euro and is characterized by a leading and innovative trend that has unfortunately suffered an abrupt halt due to the pandemic.
81% of fresh vegetable consumers buy fresh cut products, 74% buy salads, 18% buy ready-to-eat vegetables (baby carrots, julienne, etc.) and 8% buy cookable products.
Fresh cut vegetables make up 16% of the total value of fresh vegetables purchased by Italian families (source: Ismea).
By the end of June, Confagricoltura had already reported the difficulties of the production segment, urging the MIPAAF to provide the most appropriate intervention measures to support companies, also by leveraging the emergency fund established by the Relaunch Decree.
"This situation - declared the president of Confagricoltura, Massimiliano Giansanti - has confirmed our worries and the urgency to intervene so as to re-establish economic viability and reliability in a sector that was showing strong growth and which has suffered a severe market imbalance as a result of the pandemic. We therefore ask to assess the most appropriate interventions in a concerted effort, as already foreseen in other sectors."