"A demand for raw materials that is exceeding supply and the lack of labor are the two issues that characterize our vegetable production and processing campaign, especially when it comes to dried tomatoes," reports Gianluca Manfredi, president of La Cupa cooperative.
The manager has reported difficulties in the organization of the next dried tomato campaign: "Demand is lively while stocks are low. We have considerable orders, even though the objective is to increase volumes compared with the 2022 campaign. We guarantee our clients Apulian sun-dried tomatoes: once harvested, tomatoes are sorted and cut in half by the careful and expert hands of our operators."
Cooperativa agricola La Cupa is located in Scorrano (LE). For the past forty years, it has grown a wide range of vegetables on one hundred hectares. Products are destined to the production of preserves, spreads, vegetables in oil or vinegar and dried vegetables available in various formats depending on the sales channel. The company boasts two processing lines: one for products in oil and one for olives. The most popular product is dried tomatoes, which are sun-dried on frames covering 18,000 sq m. The range also features other dried vegetables requiring a high degree of specialization.
The company's core business is the production of dried vegetables, especially tomatoes, artichokes, eggplants and zucchini, which are then placed in oil.
"Tomatoes destined to be sun-dried come from both traditional and organic crops. The prices of the two types, however, do no differ much as they used to. Over the past few years, in fact, prices have been affected by a few scandals involving pseudo-organic products. This is discouraging for producers of natural raw materials, also in consideration of the lower yields obtained and the higher management costs."
On a commercial level, we are focusing on promoting our brand to increase sales especially abroad and, over the next six months, we will attend the leading international fairs."
One specialty is the tomato sauce obtained from San Marzano and red and yellow cherry tomatoes, which is available in 680 and 420 g glass jars. The latest product is the Rustic sauce available in 3 kg jars for high-end delis and 400 and 680 gram jars for the retail sector.
"Over the past few years, we have grown also thanks to the demand for semi-processed products for the industry (also as private labels), especially for traditional specialties. We have been producing branded products since 2015. In 2018, we introduced the I Cupidi range with gourmet products in oil inspired by the Apulian rural tradition and very popular both in Italy and abroad. It includes the delicious chicory from Salento, Bocconcini Sfiziosi stuffed with 10 expertly-mixed vegetables, and Cellina di Nardà and Leccino olives. Then there are olive, artichoke and tomato spreads as well as sauces made with oblong red and yellow tomatoes and organic extra-virgin olive oil."
La Cupa Società Cooperativa Agricola is a company that is growing all over Italy with 10% of its share made abroad in Switzerland, Slovakia, Czech Republic, France and Austria.