"We are focusing on strengthening the recognizability of our new brand launched in 2019. La Timida is the brand under which we commercialize top-quality Annurca apples grown in north Caserta. Consumers purchasing good fruit do not look at the price, they look for high quality. This is why it is increasingly important to focus on the brand being recognized and trusted," reports Primo Forcina, sales manager of La Forcina Antonio, a company located in Fondi (LT) and established by his father Antonio in the 1980s.
Antonio Forcina, purchase manager of the company he established in 1987.
Forcina Antonio boasts a wide range of products and commercializes over 15 thousand tons a year of Navel and Tarocco oranges, lemons and clementines, Miyagawa tangerines, Annurca apples, cherries, strawberries, persimmons, nectarines, peaches and plums, Romanesco broccoli and cauliflowers.
"The strength of our productions is the artisanal work that is behind them, especially when it comes to they way we follow our suppliers. We invested on our producers in years when many were looking at foreign productions as the most specialized, also due to the fact that volumes were much higher (just think about Spanish citrus fruit supplies)."
"The quality of Italian fruit is unparalleled. Our secret is careful observation and the harvesting of fruits when they are fully ripe, resulting in tasty products demanded by the market. We are not interested in price wars, as high-quality fruits always find their place on the market."
Primo Forcina, now running the business together with his father Antonio, loves his job: he is an expert in variety and biodiversity and is working on many projects to give a new lease of life to the family land with the same crops and orchards the company started with.
"We started in 1987 with Annurca, a prestigious variety that was little known by consumers and which is still a niche product though it boasts exceptional flavor and organoleptic qualities. We have come up with a specific brand, La Timida ("the shy one"), precisely because these apples ripen slowly. They need extensive skills and high processing costs before they reach the tables of final consumers.
Annurca apples are the only ones typical from Campania. They represent 80% of the Campania apple production and 4% of the domestic apple production. Fruit processing and post-harvest treatments are a true art, as these apples do not ripen on trees: they are instead harvested unripe in the fall and are left to ripen on specific supports for approximately 15 days and are turned by hand.
"When fruits have reached the right color, we collect them and take them to our 7000 sq m warehouse, where we grade them and place them in branded tissue paper. We take great care in presenting our products in suitable packaging to make our brand recognizable."
La Forcina invested a lot in marketing and communication to promote the Annurca apple brand. Compared with the previous campaign (when volumes were already below average), volumes are 30% lower than expected. The campaign started a few weeks ago and rewards larger grades and the foreign sales channel where the produce is in demand. We are anyway talking about a niche, also considering the high field costs, with average wholesale prices of around €2/kg.
For 2021, the company is looking to boost its new systems and refrigerated units. The experience gained over the years, the research for new technologically-advanced solutions and quality, combined with the professionalism of employees, enabled the company to acquire skills for each processing, cooling and storage phase.
Forcina commercializes its products all over Italy, which are available in big retail chain stores from Sicily to Trentino.
As for exports, the countries of reference are France, Germany, Great Britain and Malta. A lot of produce is also shipped to Eastern European countries and especially to Slovenia, Croatia and Poland.