October saw the launch of Valfrutta Fresco, a major new marketing entity within the Italian fresh produce trade that has been established in order to bring value to the finest in Italian fruit and vegetable production as well as guaranteeing year-round supply of top-quality, natural products to retailers and consumers on the domestic market.
The Valfrutta Fresco brand, a commercial trademark which has in fact been around since 1972, brings together some of the leading names in Italian fresh produce – Apo Conerpo, Agrintesa, Fruit Modena Group, Conserve Italia, Italfrutta and Cepal – in one marketing consortium comprising 20,000 members, 55 associate cooperatives and 34,000ha of production, equal to around 1m tonnes of fresh fruit and vegetables. Together, the companies represent a combined turnover of more than €80m.
“Our mission is to create a brand that conveys the value of Italian fruit,” commented Conserve Italia president Maurizio Gardini during a press conference at the Hotel I Portici in Bologna on 15 October. Gianni Amidei, director of Agrintesa and managing director of Valfrutta Fresco, explained that the brand would represent all of the finest qualities associated with the safe and reliable production and distribution of natural, typical Italian fruit and vegetables, be they organically or conventionally grown.
Over the next five years, the consortium has committed to spending a total of €15m on marketing and promoting the Valfrutta brand on around 50,000 tonnes of product every year. The group will be split into two distinct divisions: one for seasonal fresh fruit; and one for fresh-cut vegetables. Starting with pears and kiwifruit followed by red-fleshed oranges in December, the fruit offer will include strawberries, cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums, table grapes, pears, kiwifruit, clementines, oranges and tomatoes. “This is the first truly strategic branded fresh produce range, characterised by consistent, high quality and premium positioning,” said Stefano Soli, marketing director of Apo Conerpo business unit and marketing manager for Valfrutta Fresca’s fresh fruit division.
Paolo Gerevini, marketing director of Conserve Italia, has taken charge of the new consortium’s fresh-cut marketing. He revealed that Valfrutta Fresco would offer a broad range of fresh prepared items, including salads and ready prepared vegetable packs.
In order to guarantee optimum logistics and the shortest possible supply chain between suppliers and customers, Valfrutta Fresco will call upon another newly created company, Natura Colore, which will offer direct deliveries to wholesale and retail customers across Italy via a network of 700 trucks.
Apo Conerpo president Paolo Bruni joined Valfrutta president Gabriele Chiesa in welcoming Valfrutta Fresco’s arrival: “In this ever more globalised market, the single factor that makes our production more and more competitive lies in its ability to offer Italian families and consumers a chance of distinguishing and appreciating good and safe produce that is grown in this country.”