At TUTTOFOOD 2023, the presence of many olive oil companies, thanks in part to the partnership with ASSITOL, will allow to seize business opportunities generated by new trends.
An area of nearly 3.5 million hectares, larger than Sicily: this is the extra territory that Italy would need in order to achieve self-sufficiency in industrial crops and avoid imports. The figure emerged from the research The Value of the Agricultural Sector in Supply Chain Performance, organized by Nomisma and promoted by ASSITOL, the Italian Oil Industry Association, a partner of TUTTOFOOD 2023.
“This means that we will continue to import oil from Spain and other Mediterranean producers, also taking into account the reduction in yields that we are witnessing - not only in Italy - in recent years. These changes also represent a reason to evaluate the question of sustainability, but we will not do so at the expense of quality”, commented Andrea Carrassi, Director General of ASSITOL. “As a matter of fact, on the one hand we can count on an exceptional biodiversity that allows us to propose Italian oils of absolute excellence in the high-end segment. Suffice it to say that we have more than 500 cultivars, while in Spain there are only two.”
“On the other”, continued Carrassi, “markets, in particular international ones, recognize the great ability of Italian producers to create unique blends of great quality from oils of different origins. Even though the comparison is not precise, we can think of coffee blends as an example. It is not just a matter of making up for limited Italian production: creating blends of oils with different characteristics also makes it possible, among other things, to ensure greater organoleptic consistency of the product throughout the year and from one harvest to the next, which is very important when marketing significant quantities to different markets.”
Companies at the forefront between quality and sustainability
The balance between production aimed at broader segments and a focus on excellence is for example among Costa d'Oro's winning factors, as explained by the Marketing Manager Alessandra Filippi: “We keep focusing on value-added products, such as 100% Italian and unfiltered products, which are attractive to consumers who are willing to spend more for quality oil and are perceived as more natural and handmade, but also on innovating mainstream products that can be used by a broader target audience in the direction of greater safety and traceability. We strongly believe in innovation with a view to preserving the authenticity and organoleptic, nutritional richness of products, with an ever-increasing push to reduce impacts and streamline processes throughout the supply chain. We also developed a sustainability plan, called Planet O-live. About half of our sales are coming from abroad. Eastern Europe is our mainstay, followed by North and South America, primarily Brazil and Mexico, and then by the U.S. and Canada together with some Asian markets.”
Sustainability is also fundamental for another historic name in the Italian oil industry, Olio Dante. As CEO Enrico Luciano pointed out: “In Italy, the foreign EVO market recorded a -9% in volumes compared to 2021. Bucking the trend, Olio Dante closed with a +2%. Moreover, with respect to 100% Italian EVO, Olio Dante recovered a +45% in volume on a yearly basis. In this context, sustainability is increasingly important in FMCG because it covers not only aspects related to the content of products, but also packaging and natural resource management. Abroad, the best-performing areas are Canada, Germany and Eastern Europe, but we also have a stable presence in Japan and Austria.”
Therefore, sustainability and quality are increasingly in tune with innovation. This is also the case of Oleificio Zucchi, as explained by general quarter: “A growing trend is that of consumers searching for healthy products coming from a traceable supply chain, together with a renewed interest in the all-around sustainability of products, from farming practices to packaging. Innovation, not only in terms of products but also of processes, represents the main driver of growth. Our expertise and focus on managing technological processes and materials on R-PET bottles, a plastic material derived from the recovery and recycling of virgin PET food bottles, enable us to offer solutions aimed at lower environmental impact. The foreign portion of our market is worth about 25% of the sales of the packaged products’ division, with a significant role played by the U.S. We expect to be able to increase the importance of the international market particularly in European countries.”
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