During the peak production period, Italian companies specializing in tomato processing are facing an unprecedented situation. In fact, in addition to the difficulties in tin procurement (resulting in higher costs) that gripped the sector in 2021, this year was compounded by increases demanded by growers and significant increases in gas and energy prices.
“The Italian shelf-stable tomato sector is experiencing quite a complicated situation in Italy right now,” says Giovanni De Angelis, General Manager, Anicav ( the Italian Vegetable Food Preserves Industrial Association). “Our sector is in the peak of processing just when energy is experiencing the highest price increases, and we certainly cannot stop production. Tomato processing is strictly seasonal, and we cannot reduce, limit, or suspend it because that would mean leaving tomatoes in the fields and creating significant damage to the supply chain. The cost of gas and electric energy, which before this situation accounted for between 4 percent and 5 percent of total costs, now weighs in at 20 to 22 percent.”
What could be the export repercussions of this situation? “Our sector has always been export-oriented,” De Angelis says, “but we have higher costs compared to our main competitors, whose products are similar but cannot boast the same quality. In fact, our shelf-stable tomato has unique characteristics, but it is difficult to compete in the market and get the better of canned goods produced abroad, which have much lower costs. These difficulties have been compounded by significant increases in container freight costs, which have risen from $2,800/$3,000 to $11,000/$12,000.”