The 25th annual Macfrut trade fair, which takes place in Cesena, Italy, on 17-19 April, will this year include a special hall dedicated exclusively to the fresh-cut convenience sector.
In the first six months of last year, Italian retailers sold 29,000 tonnes of fresh-cut produce, up 3.7 per cent year-on-year in terms of volume and 4.8 per cent in value to €247m, according to IRI InfoScan. The market for washed, pre-cut salads has seen particularly positive growth in the past couple of years, with bags of mixed salads now able to command prices of up to €13 per kg under some private labels.
Figures published by Macfrut organiser Cesena Fiera suggest that level of growth reached 6 per cent for the whole of 2007, thanks to a broadening of product ranges available, particularly with regard to the fresh-cut fruit offer.
For that reason, Cesena Fiera is following the lead of this year's Fruit Logistica by introducing an exhibition area solely for the fresh-cut convenience sector. The company recently signed a strategic deal with AIIPA, the Italian Association of Food Product Industries, which brings together the major companies involved in the Italian fresh-cut industry, and has managed to attract over 30 exhibitors to the new area in its inaugural year.
The agreement is aimed at bringing such firms closer together at Macfrut in order to present a clearer picture of recent developments at all levels of the fresh-cut supply chain and the prospects for future growth.
"Fresh-cut is continuing to develop in this country, a trend which goes completely against the current stagnation, if not decline, of conventional fresh produce," said Domenico Scarpellini, president of Cesena Fiera. "This is not only the result of greater consumption but also the companies which work in the sector, from field to fork, and which are growing with demand."