Freshness from Europe: introducing China to produce Made in Italy

(Ferrara, 23rd January 2017) The CSO Italy project, Freshness from Europe, is presented in Beijing within the context of the Spazio Italia initiative sponsored by ICE, boasting the presence of Enrico Berti – Embassy of Italy to the People’s Republic of China, Amedeo Scarpa, Trade Commissioner Coordinator of ICE, Li Yan, General Director of the Chinese Ministry of Agriculture, and Jerome Lepeintre, Minister-counsellor for Health and Food Safety Issues of the EU Delegation.

The event, which saw the participation of numerous business people from the fruit and vegetable sector in China, not to mention journalists covering this sector, proved to be an excellent occasion for showcasing the opportunities provided by the Freshness from Europe project in China.

With a budget of 5.3 million Euros and a focus on China, the USA, Canada, the United Arab Emirates and Japan, the project, financed by the European Union, the Italian Government and member companies of CSO Italy, such as Apoconerpo, Alegra, Naturitalia, Apofruit, Assomela, Origine, Opera, Ceradini, Made in Blu, Oranfrizer, Conserve Italia and Orogel, has the specific goal of promoting quality Italian fruit and vegetable produce.

The unique excellence of Italian grown products is based on the skill, tradition, experience and inherent predisposition of the production areas involved, which make it possible to obtain fresh and processed fruit and vegetable products with beneficial health properties acknowledged all across the world.

“From this point forward,” explained Giulia Montanaro of Assomela, “we will be able to provide the Chinese market with uniquely high-quality apples. Italy is the major producer of fresh apples in Europe and the goal is to open as quickly as possible and take full advantage of the enormous potential of the Chinese market with the indispensable support of the relevant Italian and European authorities.”

When it comes to pears, Italy is a leading producer worldwide, with extremely desirable varieties such as the Abate Fetel, cultivated exclusively in Emilia Romagna, in the central part of Italy.

Production is carried out by two very important commercial organizations, Opera and Origine Group, which together account for practically all of the Italian output in this category.

And regarding the Italian kiwis, available in the Chinese marketplace with quantities that so far have reached 15,000 tons annually and are constantly increasing, Made in Blu has boasted the largest share of the domestic Chinese market since 2009.

Furio Mazzotti, the Managing Director, points out how the winning ingredient has been the constant availability of the product in the marketplace, the consistency and reliability of a high-end selection of products.

“For Apofruit, as well, the Chinese market has been thoroughly served from the very beginning,” explained Renzo Balestri, Head of Foreign Sales. “We have focused on branding the Apofruit product, earmarking the Solemio brand exclusively for the Asian market. Growth has been constant over the years, shoring up the product’s position in the market.”

According to Massimo Ceradini, the CEO of the Ceradini Group, present in China since 2009 with the King Fruit, Greenkiwi, Sweetkiwi and Goldkiwi brands, “over the next few years the market will carry out a selection process among the currently numerous suppliers, ensuring that competition will become increasingly fierce.

In order to meet the challenge of the Chinese market it is necessary to consistently provide a product capable of satisfying demanding requirements in terms of organoleptic quality and health benefits.”

Citrus fruits are just a step away from breaking into the Chinese market with their extremely promising potential, as confirmed by Salvo Laudani, Marketing Manager for Oranfrizer.

“The hope of finally breaking into the Chinese market this selling season,” lamented Laudani, “is fading fast and it’s really a shame, considering the excellent quality of this year’s crop of products. Nevertheless, we shall continue doing all that is feasible in order to expedite all the red tape as quickly as possible. We are even willing to ship the goods by air and then we’ll finally be ready to really export citrus fruits.”

The success of the project presentation initiative in Beijing which is linked with the presentation of Macfrut 2017, the Italian fruit and vegetable product fair featuring China this year as its partner country, confirms the enormous potential for growth in trade between Italy and China, with huge opportunities for Italian fruit and vegetable producers.

In this context Jerome Lepeintre confirms that the Chinese food market, served by the USA, Japan and Thailand, is undergoing an enormous evolution. In this context, Europe has enormous potential with products boasting elevated health benefits; besides, Italy is already known for the unique characteristics of its products, but a thoroughgoing effort still has to be made, including lots of meetings and dialogue in order to reach the sort of bilateral agreements necessary for expanding the range of products exported.