Italian families in 2017 consumed 2.2% more fruits and vegetables than the previous year, for a total of 8.52 billion kilos. This illustrates a real turning point towards health-based choices which continued into the first two months of 2018, underlined Italian farmers’ organization Coldiretti during Macfrut 2018. According to a Coldiretti/Ixè survey, the need for safe and natural foods brings 88% of Italians to ditch foreign imported fruits and to choose locally grown fruits and vegetables. Italy is indeed at the top of food safety around the world with the lowest number of agricultural products with abnormal chemical residues (0.6%). The request for healthy food also comes internationally where 5.2 billion euro worth of Italian cultivated fruits and vegetables were exported in 2017, representing a 3% increase. The value of exported fruits and vegetables was higher than those imported, totaling 4.7 billion euro and again, a 3% increase.
FRESH FRUIT JUICES, THE TREND OF WELL-BEING
By now, fresh fruit juices and fruits and vegetables extracts have acquired a fixed place in the refrigerator cases of supermarkets. The array has slowly expanded to include new sizes and flavours, often coming in single-serve packs to offer consumers an on-the-go option to fresh fruit. Italy has seen an increase of 4.5% in the consumption of fresh fruit juices during the first eight months of 2018. The organic segment in particular is seeing significant growth with a 21% hike in value and a 13% rise in volume for 2017 (Nielsen data). Manufacturing companies are extremely active in launching new products onto the market and experimenting with new flavours that are increasingly appealing. DimmidiSì, the brand of La Linea Verde, is offering, for example, new recipes that are combined with ginger. Alce Nero, on the other hand, which specialises in the production of organic food products, is offering mixes with the addition of roots, such as ginger and liquorice, or infusions such as chamomile and ginseng.
THE ADVANTAGES OF HIGH PRESSURE PROCESSING FOR VEGETABLES
HPP technology helps maintain the quality of fruits and vegetables used in extracts. By using high pressure, it’s in fact possible, to maintain, intact, all of the nutritional and organoleptic properties of the products used. This in turn deactivates the undesired microorganisms (such as bacteria, mold and yeast) present in the food and guarantees food safety and a longer shelf life. AgriBologna and Alce Nero are among the companies that currently use this technology.