A few months ago the new building of Finò, il finocchio italiano, was inaugurated. This company, specialized in the cultivation and marketing of fennel, is located in Savignano sul Rubicone (Forlì-Cesena), and represents an important step on the entrepreneurial path of Marco Babbi and Vittorio Caligari. "We started this adventure more than 14 years ago and over time we have become more and more specialized, sometimes even growing in a very tumultuous way. The new processing and packaging center is exactly what we needed."
The new building seen from the outside
The new complex is almost 4000 meters2 in size, on a total area of 20,000 m2. The design is based on three main pillars, a greater efficiency in processing and yield, a higher focus on employee welfare, and and a commitment to respect the environment through energy and water savings. The capacity of the cold store is 14,000 cubic meters. The processed product per year is about 7,000 tons. Approximately 70 workers are employed at the new location. Everything has been built with the company's own financial resources, without external financing.
The area where the fennel is processed and packed.
"Thanks to the increased space, the internal logistics organization and the new processing line, we have a processing potential that is 50% higher than before," said Babbi. "The entire refrigerated supply chain is respected and each individual package can be traced from the field to the point of sale. Our company has all the necessary certificates to export abroad and our partner growers are all certified as well. In some periods, we export more than 60% of our production".
The new processing and packaging center was designed with an emphasis on sustainability. It ranges from energy savings, thanks to the lighting and the materials utilized, to the generation of energy by means of 150 kw photovoltaic panels. Rainwater is reused for sustainable irrigation and non-food purposes, while vegetable washing water is recycled several times. All vegetable waste is sent to a biogas plant.
"The sorting machine was built to a prototype designed to meet our needs," said Caligari. "Some solutions have been pioneered in the processing and selection of fennel, in agreement with the manufacturer. We were well aware of our needs and made a decisive contribution to the final design."
The company Caligari & Babbi also takes care of the production. In addition to 25 hectares of fennel grown by the company itself, there are about 500 hectares of fennel available from the affiliated partner growers, who are located in the most suitable areas of Italy.
"Experience, research and knowledge represent the key elements for the cultivation of fennel. The same variety can give extremely different results depending on its location and agronomic techniques. We work with growers who have been our suppliers for many years now, and who are all certified according to our standards."
An image of the offices
The company focuses on the 4.0 dimension, the 'smart industry', where process optimization is possible thanks to the processing of traffic flows and collected digital data. Everything is under analytical control and that would not have been possible in the old building in which the two partners laid Finò's first foundations in 2006.
Vittorio Caligari and Marco Babbi
"We are very grateful to all our employees and all our customers, from the large-scale distribution (Italian and foreign) to the wholesalers on the markets, for the trust they have placed in us over the years. We will continue to invest to not only keep up with the times, but also to look ahead to innovations," concluded Caligari and Babbi.