"Quality is comprised of two factors. The first is the quality perceived - leaves that look good, sealed packets with appealing mixes. The second is food security, which is what consumers require when choosing a specific brand," explains Stefania Grazianetti, quality manager for Bonduelle Italia.

See photos from the open day at Bonduelle.

A moment during the press tour for the launch of the Filiera Garantita® project.

During a press tour, Bonduelle Italia presented its Filiera Garantita® project: "We carry out 46 checks along the chain". The project was started to provide consumers with information on all production stages, and to reassure them on all those aspects they cannot check directly. It involves 23 products from the fresh-cut range (Iceberg Bonduelle, Gran Mix Gustoso Bonduelle, Armonia Bonduelle, Tenere Insalatine Bonduelle).

"The idea behind the project is to make consumers understand how much hard work goes into such a healthy product like bagged salad. We want to illustrate the 46 checks we carry out along the chain. From fields (checks carried out before sowing), to irrigation management, inspections on raw materials and facility checks. Consumers need a product that is fresh and a high quality that starts in the field," explained Gianfranco D'Amico (in the photo), CEO for Bonduelle Italia. 

See photos from the open day at Bonduelle.

Bonduelle lettuce with the "Filiera Garantita®" sticker.

Around 40% of Bonduelle checks are carried out in the field and start months before packets arrive in supermarkets. All the 88 producers working for Bonduelle (who are part of Oasi PO) are selected according to their land, location, water-use and experience, and are monitored monthly. Agronomists follow the entire processing phase, starting from varietal choices. Everyone complies with integrated production specifications and is GlobalGAP certified. Over the next two years, they will also hold the LEAF certificate for environmental impact. 

See photos from the open day at Bonduelle.

The open day was held at Vallere. "The business started with open fields in the 1950s and the first greenhouses were installed in 2003. Currently, we have 16 covered hectares for the production of baby leaves such as lettuce, corn salad, green Roman lettuce, red pak choi, etc.," explain owners Marco and Nicola Salera.

See photos from the open day at Bonduelle.

Nicola and Marco Salera, owners of La Vallere.

Traceability enables the identification of the exact greenhouse where the salad was cultivated, then there are best practices, innovations and solutions to guarantee a high-quality product. For example, the company introduced mechanised harvesting where, until just a few years ago, everything was carried out by hand. The tractors are all Euro 4 and equipped with special filters to prevent the emission of exhaust gases in greenhouses. Once harvested, the produce enters the cold chain immediately and reaches the Bonduelle processing facility in just one hour.

A cogeneration system warms warehouses in winter (12/15°C), "so we can reduce growing times and achieve a better quality."

See photos from the open day at Bonduelle.

Raw material at the Bonduelle processing plant.

The remaining 60% of checks are carried out at the processing plant. Temperature is kept constant through all processing phases - from collection to washing and from weighing to packaging. The produce is sorted both on arrival and during processing and there are three washing cycles with clean water. 

See photos from the open day at Bonduelle.

Lab analyses carried out by Bondelle. 

In the lab, Bonduelle checks all pesticide (270 active principles analysed for each sample), heavy metal and microbiological residues. The centre also analyses produce coming Bonduelle facilities in Germany and France.