In a peculiar year such as 2020, it is essential to keep working and reach Christmas trying to find some sort of "new normal":
"The passion that generally pushes the import of some product has died down. We do not want what we have created in over 40 years, and especially during the last 15 years, to be taken from us, so we keep working as usual. Our mission is to guarantee the consumption of numerous products throughout the year, thanks also to procurement from other countries depending on the season. This is how we can enjoy excellent watermelons in December," explains Giuseppe Galluccio, sales manager of La California Group, which works within Centro agroalimentare di Napoli-CAAN.
The watermelons Galluccio is talking about come from Brazil and are grown by Mata Fresca. "They have grades 4 and 5 with an average weight of 3 kg and the wholesale price is around €0.80/kg with a retail quotation that can vary between €1.20 and €1.50/kg. The flavor is truly surprising, as seeded watermelons can be better than seedless ones!"
The company also imports category I cherries from Argentinian Patagonia. "It is a truly luxurious product, which stands out for its flavor compared to the Chilean produce. Those who purchase cherries during this period do not let Covid-19, the crisis or sadness affect them: not everyone, in fact, can afford to buy wholesale cherries at €10-14/kg (€30/kg retail!). Only those who are truly passionate about cherries buy them at Christmas and actually demand them even more during specific periods."
"Logistics has been a challenge but, those who want to, can find excellent solutions. For example, there are no more direct flights from Buenos Aires to Rome, so productions stop in Madrid and reach our platform in Italy by road."
The 2020 citrus fruit campaign has been very positive for La California from both an economic and a commercial point of view. "This is true for both the Sicilian and imported produce. Considering that yields were lower on a global level and that the Coronavirus led to a sharp increase in orange consumption (by at least 30%), consumption levels were unlike what we had seen in decades."
Galluccio believes the trend will remain positive for the 2020/21 campaign as well. " We will not reach the levels of the previous season, but it will still be a positive year."