"Four years ago, we started growing yellow and red kiwis in the Crati Valley, in the province of Cosenza in Calabria. The area covers about 110 hectares. The orchard is part of the Jingold Consortium. The kiwis we grow are not suitable for the fresh market because they are too large. They are not thrown away but processed into chips, according to the rules of the circular economy," said Martina Aceto of Fratelli Aceto (photo on the right), who joined the F.lli Aceto company as of this year.
"The quantity destined for processing varies from year to year, depending on the weather conditions during the cultivation phase. The kiwi harvest for the new season has just started and we expect larger quantities than in previous years."
Back to the roots, after a long journey abroad Silvio Aceto, who first emigrated to Toronto, decided to return to Calabria in 1974 to invest in horticulture and cattle breeding. An ambitious idea that, with effort and sacrifice, became a reality thanks to the cooperation and support of his whole family. Thus, was born the Aceto company, which developed rapidly and expanded its crops to include kiwis, grapes, olives and vegetables. The crops are destined for the company's own dairy herd.
The company has a wide range of crops, but it has enriched its assortment with the production of snacks made from fruit. For this particular offering, it has specialized in advanced processing techniques for kiwis, creating a natural product in which the aroma and flavor are enhanced and exalted.
"We are proud because the processing of yellow, green and red pulp kiwis into crisps has earned us a special mention at the Oscar Green Calabria 2021," said Martina Aceto.
KiGold, KiGreen and KiRed "The project was born in the middle of the pandemic. We spent a year experimenting with different techniques before we found the one that suited us best. In the end, we chose peeled kiwis, which are cut into slices and dried for a long time at low temperatures in special ovens with the right humidity level. The crisps contain no added sugars or preservatives and, according to analyses carried out by the University of Calabria, they have a high vitamin C and potassium content. The green kiwi, which we do not cultivate, is supplied by the Jingold Consortium."
A key element of the dehydrated kiwi project is that it follows a circular economy. "We start by harvesting on our farm's land and once we have selected the product to be delivered and the product to be dried, all the waste - such as the kiwi peel that we do not use - is processed into biogas. So, we have no waste material, and everything is disposed of in a sustainable way."
The kiwi chips are sold in controlled atmosphere bags. "Our original idea was to showcase the product, and the only packaging that met our requirements was this plastic bag with an airtight seal."
The 20-gram bag, in particular, is an ideal take-away snack. "But there are other formats that we sell through our e-commerce: packages of 100, 200 and 500 grams, boxes of 15 20-gram bags. Thanks to our online shop, we are present on the market all over Europe," concluded Martina Aceto.