"The processing tomato campaign will continue beyond August, albeit with many difficulties. Volumes are high and, in contrast to previous years, the prices of processed products are also on the rise, driven by the unprecedented increase in raw material packaging, which is difficult to find," said Enzo Perano, managing director of the Campania-based company Perano Enrico & Figli.
The steel and tinplate industries have been particularly affected by the recovery of intercontinental trade after the critical phase of the pandemic. Specifically, the production of cans and capsules for food packaging has gone haywire, with prices soaring in the face of high demand and a shortage of warehouse stocks.
Perano Enrico & Figli has been processing and marketing a wide variety of tomatoes under the Galletto brand name since the 1960s, with a total volume of around 90,000 tons, using raw material from both round and long tomatoes. The company - now in its third generation of entrepreneurs - is present in the Italian and foreign large-scale retail trade under both its own brand (Galletto) and private labels. There are about 15 references of processed tomatoes, including whole, peeled, puréed and chopped tomatoes, available in various formats, depending on the commercial channels.
"We are focusing on a meticulous selection of freshly harvested batches of tomatoes - which are in fact suffering greatly from the extreme heat and drought of the last three months. In absolute terms, this is a campaign characterized by a high quality of the fruit; however, in some areas of Capitanata (Puglia) the heat and water stress has led to a very rapid ripening of the tomatoes which, although aesthetically appealing, they are often not perfectly ripe on the inside, which is what the delicate processing of peeled tomatoes requires.
In the Gargano area of Apulia, in the province of Foggia, all the problems caused by the adverse weather conditions that have devastated the young plants transplanted, from the frost in April to the floods of 18 and 19 July, in addition to the drought of the last few months, are now emerging. (See related article).
Perano Enrico & Figli has a large factory and state-of-the-art processing machines, as well as computerized sorters (supplied by Raytec Vision), in order to control the morphology of each tomato in detail, thus selecting the healthy product and discarding the imperfect or unripe one, in order to obtain a final product that meets expectations.
"We are at maximum production capacity, with plants that were opened last May, given the expectation of a surplus of tomatoes to be processed, which have matured simultaneously, as happened during the last campaign. In addition, we are also coping with the problems caused by the pandemic, such as the lack of raw materials for packaging and the difficulties in finding skilled and unskilled labor. Logistics are also affected, with an insufficient number of trucks to transport the tomatoes from the countryside to the industry and with carriers that are undersized compared to demand.