Gaetano Torrente from La Torrente has been elected president of the Food Chain Section at Unione Industriali Napoli for the period 2021-2023. Unione Industriali Napoli is made up of 15 sections and aims at safeguarding the interests of its members and analyze specific problems. Companies part of the organization are grouped by business and chain. They share their skills and know-how to find solutions to the needs of the various industrial sectors.
Gaetano Torrente, sales manager at La Torrente, a company processing top-quality tomatoes to make sauces, peeled tomatoes and purees.
“I will honor my mandate with a great sense of responsibility, as I am aware that the food chain - which has grown in both volume and value also during the peak of the pandemic - must deal with pressing priorities. These include finding synergies between the agricultural and industrial parties as well as sustainable policies in line with the objectives established by the European Union for 2030," explained Gaetano Torrente, owner and sales manager of La Torrente, a leading company in the processed tomato segment located in Campania (Italy).
"As for green policies, we are working on various projects to exploit tomato waste (skin and seeds) to produce energy and for the pharmaceutical and cosmetic sectors. But producing energy using tomato waste has its costs. Researchers have been working on a way to reduce them for years and employing them to make energy can make them sustainable, thus saving the cost of 'traditional' disposal."
"From a commercial point of view, we have ended the processing campaign with certified products, which enabled us to position ourselves as a leading company within the big retail chain sector. These platforms require not just guaranteed volumes and prices, but also high-quality services such as logistics. We have had some difficulty finding fork-lift drivers and personnel for road transport during this last campaign due to the lack of truck drivers along the logistic chain."
Over the past few years, the canning industry in Campania has managed to promote its products, overcoming the crisis which affected the tomato chain thanks to productions closely linked with the territory, which are very much in demand especially abroad.
The product range includes over 10 varieties of local tomatoes, including oblong and round red tomatoes, yellow cherry tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes from Agro Sarnese-Nocerino, Corbarino tomatoes, hill tomatoes and plum tomatoes from the Fortore valley. The premium red and yellow Special Cherry Tomato segment has grown especially in the H&R segment, although there was a lot of interest also from the big retail chain thanks to consumers looking for traditional products.
"One of the problems is the lack of skilled and unskilled labor. So far, we have managed to deal with it thanks to technology, i.e. mechanized harvesting and line technologies. However, it is true that it is currently difficult to increase production. What is more, we are seeing how training is increasingly needed as specialized operators are gradually retiring. Finding workers is very difficult, we could not find anyone through the Employment Center either. There is a lot of work, but there are no workers and crafts are disappearing."
La Torrente's points of strength include the fact that it processes fully-Italian tomatoes on a short chain (from harvesting to distribution) thanks to producers it has been working with for 40 years. 2021-2023 will see great changes, starting with the opening of the new 34 thousand sq m plant. Processed volumes will probably exceed 100thousand tons.