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Italy: Lollo lettuce disappears in Germany

According to what is referred to FreshPlaza by sources in the seed world, the "Lollo" lettuce sector in Southern Italy has been affected by the new commercial policy of German retailers.

Some retailers decided to eliminate this kind of lettuce altogether in order to meet the new quality standards, deal with the consumption crisis and optimise the profitability of stores, substituting it with green-house or soil-less produce or even with dried fruit selections.

"It is merely an economical matter. Fresh salad is highly perishable and, if consumption drops, supermarkets have to throw it away. Dried fruit has a longer shelf-life and presents less procurement problems, because there are only a few big suppliers. In addition, its price per kg cannot be compared with any other product!," explains one of the sources.

According to another seed company, "the decision of German retailers is leading to a reduction of cultivated areas in Southern Italy. This phenomenon was certainly made worse by the rather mild winter, as there was a lot of similar produce from Northern Europe, which is nearer to them."

This seems to be confirmed by the fact that not all of Italy suffers from a drop in production as, those who cultivate in greenhouses (such as for example Campania and Veneto) are actually increasing their areas.

A third source says that this drop affects not only Lollo but also Foglia di Quercia, while it is yet uncertain how Scarola will manage.

"We still don't know who took advantage of this situation, at the moment there are only a bunch of rumours going around. What we know for sure is that there has been a drop in production in Apulia, especially since the fresh-cut sector cannot absorb all of the produce."

Red Foglia di Quercia.

Italy - country of salad
Italians are the main consumers of lettuce worldwide and the main producers in Europe. Every year, Italy produces 700,000 tons of salad, 70% of which in five regions alone - Apulia, Campania, Sicily, Lazio and Abruzzo.

Salad can be divided into three big families: chicory, endive and lettuce. The most famous are: Trocadero, Cappuccia, Romana (used for Caesar Salads) and Pan di Zucchero. Scarola is very popular in Campania, whereas curly endive is often paired with other varieties.

"Lollo" is a tender type of curly lettuce named in the 1960s after Gina Lollobrigida, who at the time was considered the most beautiful woman in the world.

Red chicory is also quite popular, presented above in all the varieties from Veneto - Verona, Chioggia and Treviso.