Italian strawberries continue to occupy a primary position in wholesale markets and supermarkets. Italian and European traders continue to order large volumes from the southern regions, mainly due to the current shortage of summer fruits on the shelves.
Luca Zuccarella with pallets of strawberries for supermarkets in central and northern Italy
"We really have the impression that we are still in the middle of the strawberry season," says Luca Zuccarella, sales manager of growers' association OP Zuccarella from the southern Italian province of Matera. "Whereas last year we finished exporting at the beginning of May because of the hot weather, this year we are still loading 20-22 pallets every two days to Stuttgart, Nuremberg, Paris and Lyon. Despite the 48-hour journey, the product reached its destination in excellent conditions. This is because our strawberries have a long shelf life and a good consistency. We have plans with foreign customers until mid-June, but everything will depend on how the weather evolves."
In Italy, according to Zuccarella, there is even greater interest in strawberries from both the retail and wholesale sectors. "The Italian supermarket chains that we are supplying on a daily basis have been asking us for large volumes, but we cannot deliver more than 50 pallets a day at the moment. The orders have doubled the supplies. Prices are excellent, thanks also to our Matera Premium brand for strawberries from the Basilicata region with distinctive characteristics in terms of taste, shelf life and sweetness. By carefully choosing the time of planting, varieties and type of plant (tray plants, rooted cuttings or refrigerated plants), we have been able to limit the scarcity of product. Because of the anomalous climate, there has been less product on the market since the beginning of the season anyway."