Ortofrutta Bernardini from Rimini has been active for decades and is proving particularly dynamic lately with its constant work on R&D and the widening of its zero-residue range.
"We have been implementing the zero-residue approach for quite some time. We truly believe in it and we are seeing products are much appreciated by consumers. What is more, it does not penalize producers. We are producers ourselves and are implementing it in our 100-hectare business," explains Christopher Bernardi.
Left to right: Christopher and Stefano Bernardi
The types of zero-residue vegetables already available certified by a third-party body and sold under the La Bella Stagione brand include light- and dark-colored zucchini, fennel, brassicas and broccoli florets. Melons will be added in the summer as well. "But the zero residue process also includes considerable investments on machinery and new packaging, and we opted for trays made up of cardboard and compostable film."
The zero residue process requires years of technical tests on the specification and varieties, as well as investments to develop new production and packaging technologies to meet the needs linked to the widening of the range. The search for materials is in fact ongoing, especially when it comes to products such as fennel and lettuce, which need water-resistant packaging.
The company headquarters in Rimini
"Our market of reference for the big retail chain channel is Italy, though lately we have been focusing abroad as well. For now, Switzerland, Austria and Germany are our main objectives to reach with a planned strategy. Also thanks to zero residue, we believe we can be of interest to an increasing number of operators all over Europe. We would also like to explore new outlets such as the catering sector which, over the past few years, has been privileging partnerships based on high-quality supplies with products that are not just nice to eat and appealing but, most of all, healthy."
Overview of zero-residue products
When it comes to costs, "the production costs of zero-residue products are slightly higher than those grown with integrated techniques due to the expensive agricultural practices employed, but this does not affect the final price that much, especially thanks to the short chain."
Starting precisely from the concept of short-chain, the company manages to always process ultra-fresh produce. The company is located near the processing warehouse, so only 24 to 48 hours pass between harvesting and the arrival of the produce on the shelves.
“We consider ourselves evolved producers that can meet the demands of both big retail chains as well as small and medium-sized supermarkets. We are ready to tackle new challenges to make our company even more dynamic and in step with the times."