The event was held at the Academia Barilla, the international centre for the promotion and development of the Italian culinary culture worldwide. Farmers, chefs, journalists and salad lovers took part. The same profiles are available on the Love my salad portal to share experiences, factoids and recipes.
Reliability, ethics and innovation are only some of the elements used by Alessandro Silvestrelli (in the photo below), Country manager for Rijk Zwaan Italia, to present the Dutch multinational working on the research, production and sale of high quality seeds. "But what really sets us apart is our passion. Rijk Zwaan is an independent company, as the shares are owned by the three owner families and the employees. In addition, the whole business is based on vegetables - 27 species, 1,000 varieties and 4 climate zones - and it is people-oriented, whether they are clients or employees."
According to Silvestrelli, the challenge for the future will be to develop new cultivation techniques and resistant species for special purposes. The challenge is important both from a social and ethical point of view.
Salanova, a global success by Rijk Zwaan.
The slogan "Sharing a healthy future" comes from this and is developed through two different projects: "The Rijk Zwaan Afrisem branch, in which we are developing high quality varieties specifically for the African market, and our Lovemysalad.com social network, with which we hope to promote the consumption of vegetables worldwide. These have widened the borders of our activity."
Sonia Re (in the photo above), from the Italian chef professional association, had the task of describing the particular characteristics of the Mediterranean diet, the benefits derivied from fruit and vegetables - antioxidants, vitamins and minerals - and what to do to preserve their characteristics while cooking.
A qualified audience!
Paride Zamagna, chain manager of Rijk Zwaan, and Silvia Cicioni, international coordinator for Love my Salad, described the project and the community to those present.
Zamagna (in the photo below) said, "We live in three different ways. In the Western world, sourcing food is not a problem, as there is too much of it and the quality is awful - so much so that 29% of the population is either overweight or obese. In 2015, we expect there to be 2.3 billion overweight people, 0.7 billion of which will be obese. In the Eastern world, they know only a few vegetables, which are mostly eaten cooked, and then there are the Developing countries. 58% of the people worldwide are malnourished."
"Since the beginning of the crisis, Italian families have bought 48% less fruit and vegetables, as they have cut their expenses by 13% since 2008," added Paride Zamagna.
It is scientifically proven that fruit and vegetables contain vitamins, mineral salts and antioxidants that are very important to maintain our health and prevent many diseases.
Sharing the passion for vegetables and involving as many people possible - this is the recipe devised by Rijk Zwaan to spread the culture for healthy and natural food.
Love my Salad was created because of this. It is a real "salad network" where salad fans worldwide can share ideas and tips and contact producers, companies, restaurants and other professionals of the sector.
During her intervention, Silvia Cicioni (in the photos above and below) cited a recent study carried out by Rabobank, highlighting how, despite the fact that healthy eating is quite popular, a deeper knowledge has not led to an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption.
The solutions provided by the bank are clear. First of all, marketing campaigns must not be only centred on benefits: the majority of consumers already know eating fruit and vegetables is important and governmental institutions are the best way to inform consumers.
The fruit and vegetable industry should therefore concentrate on other positive messages such as value for money, taste, positive experience and versatility. A good reputation for both producers and the products is in fact essential in order to change the habits of consumers.
The philosophy at the centre of Love my Salad is the same, as this was created by Rijk Zwaan to promote the use of vegetables as well as its own varieties!
To achieve its objectives, Love my Salad uses social networks like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube and soon an app will also be available.
The cooking demonstration (in the photo above with chef Marcello Zaccaria) and cooking activities in the kitchens of Academia Barilla enabled the guests to understand what the best ways to bring out the best from Rijk Zwaan's vegetables are.
Alessandro Silvestrelli, Silvia Cicioni, Paride Zamagna and Alessandra Brini (left to right).
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