"Premium products are not affected by the drop in consumption, also because it is the foreign market that mainly demands Italian products. However, it is difficult to remain competitive due to the increased cost of raw materials. Extra-virgin olive oil has doubled, not to mention gas prices, which have basically increased ten-fold in the bill for October 2022 compared to those for the same period in previous years," reports Gianluca Manfredi, president of Cooperativa Agricola La Cupa.
The cooperative owns one hundred hectares in Puglia and has been cultivating vegetables destined entirely to making preserves, spreads, pickles, dried vegetables and vegetables in oil for over forty years. The company boasts two processing lines, one for vegetables in oil and one for olives. The leading product are oblong tomatoes, which are dried in the sun on frames that cover 18,000 sq m and which have made the company famous.
The company is now working on a new 2500 sq m facility that will include new processing lines and a space dedicated to the sale of La Cupa branded products.
“Considering that our leading product is dried tomatoes (50% of the turnover), we already know this will be a difficult campaign. Climate change - with increasingly frequent late frost - damages production during the transplant phase. This is why it is difficult to plan volumes or define contracts and establish prices before the campaign starts. This happened in 2022 as well, which ended following the rules of the free market, i.e. with prices considerably higher than in previous years. It is difficult to work blind as, during the fifty days in summer when we process the tomatoes, we need to plan the campaign. Certainly keeping on raising prices does not benefit anyone!".
A true specialty is the own-brand tomato sauce made with San Marzano, red and yellow cherry tomatoes available in 680 g and 420 g jars and the Passata Rustica, made with steamed tomatoes and available in 3 kg jars for the high-end restaurant industry as well as 400 and 680 g jars for the retail channel.
La Cupa Società Cooperativa Agricola has grown by 30% on average all over the Italian territory, with 15% of the turnover obtained abroad in Germany, France, UK, Switzerland, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Austria. Processing for third parties abroad is going very well and represents 60% of the company turnover.
The sales channels of reference are specialized stores, restaurants, small supermarket chains and the e-shop. A considerable part of the turnover is made by supplying processed and semi-processed products to private labels both in Italy and abroad. The objective of the brand is to increase the turnover especially abroad and widen the range of ready-to-use sauces in Mediterranean flavors.