“Consumption is recovering, with considerable requests coming in from abroad. The Italian produce is growing in parallel with the quality parameters required by a market that is particularly careful to the food/well-being ratio. People now pay particular attention to products, not just to recipes. Consumers are passionate, they ask about a transparent chain, about the nutritional qualities and characteristics of the various types of raw material. We are talking about products that are very much in demand in Italy at the moment, because they are lacking just like labor is," reports Gianluca Manfredi, president of Apulian cooperative La Cupa, specializing in the production of a wide range of artisanal products including ready sauces, even though its leading product is dried tomatoes.
Cooperativa agricola La Cupa is located in Scorrano (LE), Puglia, on fertile land where large quantities of products are grown. More specifically, for the past forty years, it has been producing a wide range of vegetables on 100 hectares. The products are destined entirely to the production of preserves, spreads, vegetables in oil and dried vegetables, available in various formats depending on the channel. The company boasts two processing lines, one for products in oil and one for olives. The leading product is sun-dried oblong tomatoes, whose drying frames cover 18,000 sq m. Other dried vegetables complete the range, which require a high degree of specialization for processing.
Specializing in private-label processing with semi-processed products for the industry, in 2015 the company has launched on the market various lines of branded products. The premium line was created in 2018 with I Cupidi - gourmet products in oil representing the Apulian rural tradition and very much in demand in both Italian and foreign markets. The line includes chicory from Salento, Bocconcini Sfiziosi with 10 expertly-mixed stuffed vegetables, spicy stuffed peppers and Cellina di Nardò and Leccino olives. Plus there are olive, artichoke and tomato spreads and sauces made with red and yellow oblong tomatoes and organic extra-virgin olive oil.
“We are also working on a range of preserves in water, vinegar, salt and lemon juice developed for those following low-calorie diets yet who do not want to renounce tasty and healthy products. I believe the preserve segment needs to be safeguarded especially from the so-called 'Italian sounding' phenomenon, as fake Italian products constitute an obstacle to authentic ones."
The company's main sales channels are currently specialized stores, restaurants, small supermarket chains and online sales. Part of the turnover comes from the supply of processed and semi-processed products to private labels both in Italy and abroad.