Italian fresh produce marketer Alegra has signalled its intention to sell even more kiwifruit to Asia and other overseas markets by investing more than €6m in a new sorting and grading line for kiwifruit at a packhouse facility belonging to member cooperative Agrintesa in Castel Bolognese, near Ravenna.
Mauro Laghi, the group’s general manager, told Fruitnet.com the investment would enable the group’s producers to tailor their offer to meet the high standards demanded in some of Asia’s rapidly growing markets, including China, Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong.
Laghi says he feels there is plenty to be gained from exploring the market further. “Asia is certainly a market that’s growing for Alegra. We have big plans for Asia this year and the new machine we have installed will help us to identify and select for an even wider range of internal and external quality characteristics.”
The company will use the new line primarily for Hayward green kiwifruit, a product for which it believes even slight differences in product quality make an enormous difference in terms of consumer response.
“It’s a major investment for the cooperative, but it’s important that we are able to segment our offer in terms of quality and offer even better fruit that can differentiate us from the rest of the market,” Laghi adds. “We want to sell a lot more top-quality kiwifruit in Asia and this will help us to achieve that growth.”