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AOP Armonia

Italy: DolceClementina successful in export markets

Last year, AOP Armonia introduced DolceClementina to the market. These premium quality clementines sold in a 1.5 kg traditional fruit basket.

The fruit did well in Italy, but it was a real success abroad, so much so that production has been increased. "We expected it to be quite successful, just not as successful as it was," explains Marco Eleuteri, sales manager for AOP Armonia.

"We produced 200,000 packets in 2013 and we distributed them to Italian, German, Austrian and Swiss retailers as a trial."

In 2014/15, AOP Armonia will produce 6,000 tons of clementines plus 2,000 tons of Navel oranges - 15-20% more than the previous year. 800,000 of DolceClementina packets will be sold, i.e. 300% more than the first year. 60% will be destined to foreign retailers.

It is quite interesting how most of DolceCelementinas are shipped abroad, whereas the other AOP Armonia fruit mostly goes to Italian retailers.

Figures are good but, "in addition to such a positive outcome, I am also impressed by how we managed to enter a market that has been dominated by the Spaniards for over 10 years. Foreign buyers have been telling me that they had not seen Italian clementines on the market for the past 15-20 years."

"This is a perfect example of how successful you can be. Market launch a high-quality product with a long shelf-life, approx 4 months, and a nice-looking package."

According to Eleuteri, there are three main reasons behind this success: active production, better warehouse management and packaging. 

"We have been working on varietal innovation with agronomist Francesco Perri for years, with the aim of widening our range." The Spinosa variety was introduced in the early segment, and a new late variety will be presented at Fruit Logistica in Berlin: it is called SZ and it is a mutation of Common Clementines."

"In addition, all cold storage units are equipped with a ozone purification system to guarantee a better quality of clementine with leaves (DolceClementina are all sold with leaves). This means the produce will look good for longer."

Then there's the new packaging - the colour of the basket recalls the colour of clementines and there are references to the healthy properties of the fruit. 

AOP Armonia gathers 50 associates - 40 from Calabria and 10 from the Gulf of Taranto. "The different production areas means we can supply high-quality produce for longer, just like the Spaniards do," concludes Eleuteri. 

AOP Armonia
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