"This is expected to be a restart for us, after years of uncertainty due to Covid-19, and with the precariousness brought on by the war in Ukraine. We will be presenting our premium line of fresh-cut products, our stand will be similar in size to that of the 2020 edition, and we are looking forward to meeting customers and visitors again," said Alfonso Altamura talking about the participation in Fruit Logistica, which will be held in Berlin from 5 to 7 April 2022.
The Altamura family
"My brothers and I represent the fourth generation of a family that has always been involved in agriculture - continues Altamura - The investments made over the last twenty years in technology, infrastructure, marketing and training have led us to produce all the lines currently available in the catalog, and to grow steadily, year after year. In Berlin, we will be launching our new fresh-cut line 'Mama Salad', which consists of PGI Rocket from Piana del Sele, spinach and misticanza. Later, we will expand it to include other references."
"The idea originated to meet the requests of some customers and we will evaluate an expansion into the Italian market. For the time being, it will be a niche work, which has the purpose of differentiating ourselves more in the eyes of our customers, mainly foreign, who already do business with this type of product", explained the president of the producers' organization. "Arugula, which has always been considered a mass-produced product, is now gaining an extra appreciation for its value of being an ingredient."
For the new fresh-cut line, the PO has totally renovated its old headquarters, with cutting-edge technology processing lines.
Machinery for washing references destined for the fresh-cut segment
Rising costs and war in Ukraine The current period is not exactly rosy. The production costs are constantly rising, there are logistics delays, raw materials are in short supply and, on top of that, there is the Russian-Ukrainian conflict.
"It is difficult to plan for the long term. Ukraine was an emergent and flourishing market for us, not a primary one, but one that was becoming quite interesting, especially in terms of relations with the large-scale retail trade. We also discovered that in Ukraine there are well-structured companies, and this is an important factor in negotiations. Unfortunately, we are now at a complete standstill. Being at the end of the winter campaign, we are faced with a different management of the quantities that were allocated to Ukraine," added Fabio Altamura, vice president of Op Altamura.
"The experience with the coronavirus has taught us to reschedule, particularly with foreign markets. For example, in the Netherlands, during the lockdown we had a drop in orders with customers supplying the Horeca channel, but we always kept working all over Europe. We struggled with challenges, but without a halt."
"As for raw materials, we are opting for economies of scale, but the situation is getting worse day by day. It is no longer only a cost problem, but also a matter of availability," emphasized Altamura.
Other novelties With a view to overseeing changes in lifestyles and consumption, Op Altamura aims to respond ever better to future needs. "However, at the same time, we will be the first to actively stimulate consumers, proposing novelties and introducing them to lesser-known products and flavors," explained Alfonso Altamura. "In this regard, we are experimenting with new varieties, and moving closer to the restaurant industry."
"We have signed an agreement for a first partnership with 50 Top Italy, an Italian guide to the best Italian restaurants in Italy and around the world. The partnership for the 2023 edition will have the purpose of highlighting plant-based cuisine, for which a special ranking and an award will be created, promoted by our Op. We are proud to support such a prestigious recognition, for which we share the same vision and values. For many people, plant-based dishes are the latest fad. However, considering it only as such is biased and narrow-minded. There is, in fact, a precise philosophy behind it, based on principles that are applied both by professional chefs and by those who regularly cook at home," added Fabrizio Todisco, trade marketing manager.
Sustainability and innovation "We always aim to use less plastic, and the plastic we use is washable and reusable. We are also testing other materials, such as biodegradable or compostable films. As a matter of fact, we are testing a new compostable packaging, which we hope to launch in the short term," said Alfonso Altamura.
"In 2021, we have invested significantly in photovoltaics and innovative irrigation systems to minimize environmental impact. In the harvesting phase, we have decided to eliminate all heat-powered machines, replacing them with electrical ones. We are already able to produce the energy we need during daylight hours."
"Our biggest goal is to be able to produce 100 percent of the energy we need, while also covering nighttime hours. This year we will carry out the first test with two 25 KW batteries," concluded Altamura.
Op Altamura will be exhibiting at Fruit Logistica 2022, in Hall 4.2/Stand C02.