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Fresh Del Monte Europe has opened a new commercial office in Italy, marking the start of a new chapter in the brand's development in the Mediterranean market.

The office, located in Milan, started operating fully last week and will be headed up by Piero Casalini, who recently returned to the group as commercial director of Fresh Del Monte Italy.

Casalini previously worked as senior sales manager at the group's European head office in Monaco, before going on to work more recently at Unica Group and then as a freelance consultant for companies including Capespan and Peviani.

Marketing of the Del Monte brand on imported fresh fruit including bananas and pineapples sold in the Italian market was until mid-2011 handled by the US group's import partner, GF Group subsidiary Simba.

However, Fresh Del Monte terminated its 30-year agreement with Simba, having reportedly decided to seek out new opportunities to promote and market its branded products.