New partnership project called Frutti di Gil sees one of Europe’s largest fresh produce distributors make significant investment in Italy’s burgeoning soft fruit business

Matteo and Luca Molari Cerchia Holding

Matteo and Luca Molari

One of Europe’s leading fresh produce distributors, Orsero Group, has entered into a new joint venture business called Frutti di Gil to develop sales of fresh berries in Italy.

The partnership also involves Cerchia Holding, led by berry breeding specialists Matteo and Luca Molari, who will both lead the new business as co-CEOs.

The brothers are also managing partners of two other companies in the soft fruit breeding arena called G-Berries and Molari Società Agricola.

According to Orsero, which has a 51 per cent share in the project, Frutti di Gil combines the Molaris’ two decades’ experience in varietal improvement and nursery propagation with its own commercial and distribution strength, the latter supported by a unique network across Italy.

“We are satisfied with this agreement which will allow us to focus on a range of products with great growth potential,” said Raffaella Orsero, vice-president and CEO, and Matteo Colombini, joint CEO and CFO of Orsero Group.

“We live in a historical period in which the search for easy and practical solutions to consume healthy and fresh products is constant,” they continued “Berries, easy and quick to consume, fully respond to this need. To develop this path we could not have chosen a better ally than the Molari family, specialists in berries, who share our vision of growth and constant search for quality.”

The project will draw upon a number of production areas that can guarantee high-quality, ultra-fresh products for 52 weeks of the year.

Harvested berries will be graded and packed at Orsero warehouses before they are forwarded and sold throughout Italy.

The distributor’s Verona warehouse will act as the venture’s central hub until a new 7,000m2, two-floor facility is completed nextdoor. Around 1,200m2 of that new centre will be dedicated entirely to berries and fitted with cutting-edge selection and sizing machinery.

According to Matteo Molari, Frutti di Gil began as a small, local project in tribute to “the great work” of the brothers’ father, Gilberto.

“Then year after year we started to think it could be something more,” he explained. “With the Orsero Group, the agreement on content and strategy was strong right from the start: on the one hand, those who know the field and plant their roots there; and on the other, an impeccable distribution capacity.”

He added: “We have important objectives and, by joining forces, we will work as best we can to offer a new high-level consumer experience.”

Luca Molari said both groups shared a “constant demand for quality” which would be central to the new project.

“Quality of products, but also of services offered to customers and consumers,” he explained. “We are certain that with a lot of commitment and passion, combined with varietal choice and distribution capacity that are unique in Italy, we will be able to achieve the goal, thanks also to a network of excellent national and international producers.”