Statistically, a family-run company that promotes and encourages the fundamental contribution of female workers, has ample margin for growth. This is the case of Serfunghi, established after the founder's work experience in Canada.
In the photo, Serfunghi owner Raffaele Calabretta
"We have around 200 products, a vast catalog including 'nduja, porcini mushroom and arrabbiata sauces available in 446 ml glass jars. The hot chili pepper jam is a true delight for the palate and includes lemon juice, raisins, wine vinegar and natural aromas," reports owner Raffaele Calabretta.
The company was established in 1999 in Serra San Bruno (in the Vibo Valentia province in the Natural regional park of Serre between Aspromonte and Sila) though, until the second half of the 1960s, there was a business focusing on mushroom harvesting and processing.
Raffaele Calabretta dried the mushrooms on nets in the sun, or experimented with storing some types of mushrooms in water and salt. It was Bruno Calabretta who, after working for some time in Canada, decided to help his father establish a company processing local specialities.
The first customers were the tourists attracted to the area by its natural beauty and the Medieval Certosa di San Bruno.
The current range features typical local products including mushrooms (fresh, dried, frozen, in oil), starters in oil (eggplants, artichokes, dried and green tomatoes, olives, chili peppers, zucchini), aromatic spices, stuffed chili peppers, wild strawberries (fresh and frozen).
Mushroom consumption picks up in the fall. There is a lot of demand for Italian porcini mushrooms despite their much higher price compared to the foreign produce.
In general, wild mushrooms are the segment with the most growth potential. Demand increases year after year, with good margins in relation to the volumes available. The demand for porcini mushrooms is high at the moment, with excellent consumption levels. Quotations are also good at €20-25/kg.
"To process the wild porcini mushrooms, we set up a collection center monitored by our mycologist who assesses the quality and safety of the mushrooms. This year, volumes are abundant and have compensated the limited quantities of the past few years. In general, the supply and products to commercialize depend a lot on the weather, which cannot be controlled."
Because of Covid and the closure of the H&R channel, sales during the first part of the pandemic were slightly lower than in other years. Over the past six months, however, businesses reported a growth in turnover both in Italy and abroad.
The Serfunghi product range is commercialized in specialized shops, delicatessen, big retail chain stores and online. With an export share of 60% of the turnover, the products are available in the US and Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, Belgium and the Netherlands.