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Bonduelle and its partnership with Op Oasi:

The story behind packaged vegetables

With the aim of communicating the great care that goes into the entire production process in order to guarantee a quality product that meets both the consumer's needs and health requirements, Op Oasi, as a partner of Bonduelle, organized a visit to its plant in Battipaglia (Salerno) on 27 October 2021.

Arugula from the Piana del Sele PGI in Bonduelle branded packaging 

"A bag of salad is much more than it appears to be. Sometimes, the consumer cannot understand what the real story of that product is, which is why the buyer demands more transparency about the whole production process. The package can convey the quality of the product to the extent that it serves as a decisive factor in the purchasing process,” said Alessandra Marchesi, marketing manageress Fresh Salads at Bonduelle.

In the photo (from left to right): Antonio Salvatore, president of Op Oasi, Vito Busillo, president of the Consorzio di tutela rucola Igp, Sante Giuliano of the same company, and Robert Marchesi, agri-manager of Op Oasi

“The growth in vegetable consumption in Italy has raised awareness about the importance of traceability and origin on the label a priority issue. Bonduelle has always stood at the forefront on this issue, constantly investing in the improvement of its quality systems and offering more and more space to inform about the product's journey from the field to the table,” continued Marchesi.

Bonduelle is active in Italy and around the world, leveraging the assets of its technological diversification and the areas in which it operates. Its vegetables are grown on more than 128,000 hectares and are marketed in 100 countries, under various brands, in all distribution channels and in all segments, including fresh, canned, frozen, and ready-to-eat. 

The company consolidated its canned core business in the retail market, later integrated with the frozen food sector for retail and food service, and in 1997 entered the fresh-cut sector. Bonduelle's Italian fresh-cut production sites are located in San Paolo d'Argon (BG) and Battipaglia (SA).

The strategic location of the Battipaglia production site                  The Battipaglia production site serves as a full-scale platform during the winter period, covering a total area of 41,000 m2, of which only 8,000 m2 are used for processing. Every year, it produces about 60 million bagged vegetables. The plant has 6 processing lines: 2 for full-grown vegetables, 2 for baby leaf vegetables, a fully automated line, and a line specifically for carrots.

The site was designed according to the principles of the Bonduelle Group's Sustainable Development philosophy, guaranteeing respect for the environment and paying particular attention to the optimization of workflows, the improvement of environmental conditions in critical areas, and energy efficiency.

During the processing of the vegetables, the entire operation strictly conforms to the cold chain all the way to the product loading platforms. The crucial stages in obtaining a good finished product are drying and the subsequent passage under an optical sorter to eliminate any foreign bodies that may have escaped at first. Moreover, the strategic proximity of the production plant to the airport is also fundamental for the export of products such as the Rocket of the Piana del Sele PGI, on which Bonduelle has decided to invest.

The fresh-cut sector and its market                                            Given that the fresh-cut range is nothing more than an enhancement of the agricultural product, a good production process makes it possible to preserve all its freshness even after the harvesting,” said Antonio Salvatore, president of Op Oasi.

"On the market front," continued the president of Op Oasi, "it is well known that, with the pandemic, there has been a sharp drop in the purchase of fresh-cut vegetables. Today, similarly to 2019, we are still down 5% in terms of consumption. For Bonduelle, Italy is the most important country for the consumption of fresh-cut vegetables. An analysis of consumption shows that northern Italy is a more mature market than the South, both in terms of volume and market share. Contrary to what happened in Italy, the consumption of fresh-cut vegetables increased in the US during the lockdown. The US is a booming market."

Bonduelle launched its first packaged vegetables in 2001, and today it has a market value of more than €1 billion (pre-pandemic), comparable to that of the pasta market. Bonduelle's current market share is around 13%.

Packaging                                                                                "Recycling materials is extremely important for preserving our planet. That's why all the packaging for fresh and canned products is 100% recyclable. In addition, Bonduelle is committed to using recycled plastic for its packaging. In the Le Regionali salad bowls, the percentage of recycled plastic used is as high as 80%, the maximum allowed by law so far, and the canned segment also features a packaging makeover. All multipacks, in fact, will be made of paper, which will reduce the use of plastic by 40 tons per year," said Antonio Salvatore.

With this new initiative, the company is committed to reducing its environmental impact through 100% sustainable, FSC-certified packaging made up of 50% recycled paper. 

"A new sustainable packaging is the result of a pioneering recycling technology based on recycled polypropylene - R-pp (Recycled poly-propylene) - and has been introduced for two of its premium ranges: Insalate degli agricoltori and Bonduelle bio. The packaging, which is 100% recyclable, provides the same performance as its PP predecessors while maintaining the same quality and shelf life in a perfectly transparent container. The second is for the frozen segment, with a packaging made from 54% bioplastic from renewable sources," concluded the producers' organization president. 

Bonduelle is committed to sustainable agriculture based on six pillars: 1) Supporting local and seasonal production by growing 80% of its fresh vegetables in Italy. 2) Limiting the use of pesticides to protect the soil and the environment. 3) Preserving biodiversity and natural resources. 4) Minimizing the use of additives and preservatives. 5) Ensuring a wide range of organic products. 6) Promoting the use of increasingly sustainable packaging.

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