The Freshness from Europe Project, funded by the European Union, the Italian Government and CSO Italy, concluded its second year of international promotion at the recent Summer Fancy Food event in New York.
During the year, the project was presented at the world's leading exhibitions, from Asia Fruit Logistica to PMA, CPMA, Wop Dubai, Winter and Summer Fancy Food and Foodex in Japan.
Thousands of items of information materials were distributed and a total of more than 30m useful contacts established during the various events and exhibitions, according to the organisers.
As well as providing the opportunity to contact customers interested in Italian fresh and processed fruit and vegetables, the project activities enabled CSO Italy and its partner companies to present "worldwide Italian fruit and vegetable ambassador" products.
Foremost amongst them is the kiwifruit, with Italy being the world's biggest producer of the fruit, with exports continually growing to all the target countries, including China.
Demand for summer fruit and fresh-cut produce was high from the Emirates, although the year was a difficult one for margins on these products.
Pears were exported mainly to Canada, and work is under way to open up the Chinese market for this fruit and for apples, it was revealed.
A new year's operations begin in July 2017, with a total budget of more than a €1m for B2B exhibitions, advertising and promotion activities.
"Given the growth in Italian exports in the fresh fruit and vegetable sector, with +6 per cent in the first quarter of 2017 and output worth €12.3bn, and the strong export growth for kiwifruit, with increases of +30 per cent in 2016 in the project's target countries, including China, the US and Canada, prospects for the next year are looking very good," the project organisers confirmed.