Fresh-cut products are an important segment of the fresh fruit and vegetable market, both in Italy and worldwide: these ready-to-use fruit and vegetables are peeled, cut, washed and packed in suitable portions, providing an additional service for consumers and, most importantly, making it much easier to eat fruit and vegetables, which are highly recommended by doctors and nutritionists.
This market is becoming increasingly important for the Italian fruit and vegetable industry, so much so that the sales volume in Italy approached €1 billion, mostly concerning salads sold through large-scale retail channels. However, in the last few years, the sales volume of other channels has also grown, especially with regard to companies operating in the community catering sector and, more generally, in the Horeca sector.
These products will have a pivotal role at Macfrut (9-11 May at the Rimini Expo Centre), to be attended by major producers in the fresh-cut produce industry. In addition, at the exhibition centre, a 400-square metre greenhouse will be installed in order to showcase cutting-edge vegetable harvesting technology developed specifically for this segment. There will also be an international conference coordinated by Giancarlo Colelli, professor at the University of Foggia, on fake news in the fresh-cut produce sector, which is now an important topic in the age of social media. Moreover, during the Macfrut Innovation Award ceremony, a special prize is dedicated to innovation and a gold medal has been awarded to the Annatura line for ready-to-eat products.
‘The world of fresh-cut products is constantly evolving,’ Renzo Piraccini, President of Macfrut, explains. ‘Just think of all the novelty vegetables, for example the introduction of baby leaves, Brassicaceae with colourful inflorescences, microgreens and many fresh, processed vegetable-based products. This is why Macfrut is a key event featuring many initiatives dedicated to this segment: a conference, a large greenhouse with the recent innovations in cultivation technology, and the participation of leading companies in the sector.’
On Wednesday, 9 May at 2.30pm, Giancarlo Colelli, an expert in the field and coordinator of the conference “Fresh-cut products: Scientific approach vs. Fake news”, will focus on new products and formats in the fresh-cut segment. ‘The ready-to-use fruit market is growing, with the key products being apples and grapes, followed by (or together with) melon, pineapple and other tropical fruits. Loose pomegranate seeds are now becoming popular and, given the number of companies heading in this direction, we can expect to find this product on the market in the near future. In recent years, fresh ready-made soups, which are ready to be heated and consumed (with a variety of recipes ranging from traditional to seasonal), have been the main product on the market, along with fresh juices or vegetable ‘extracts’, which are not heat-treated, with many variations available, also mixed with fruits. Ready-to-use fruit and vegetables: quality, selection, service and well-being.’