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ANICAV: review of the 2020 processing season in Italy

05/11/2020 - Press release - 2020 Season - Lire en français
Three factors that weighed on the 2020 season according to ANICAV: the pandemic effect on work organization and on worker protection, the drop in farm and processing yields in the Foggia area, the largest supply area for the entire basin; an unusual and extraordinary situation.
The tomato processing season in Italy ended with a total production of 5.16 million tonnes of tomatoes - as revealed by the data processed by ANICAV - an increase of 7.6% compared to 2019, from 65,634 hectares cultivated (+ 2% on 2019). This result is part of a global increase in production (+ 3% worldwide): Italy is confirmed as the first processor of tomato products intended directly for the final consumer.
In the North Basin, the final volume processed reached 2.74 million tons, an increase of 15.7% on last year, while in the Central South Basin 2.42 million tons were processed, a slight reduction compared to 2019 despite an increase in the surfaces planted, due to the significant decline in agricultural yields in the Foggia area, which represents the largest supply area for the entire basin.

"What just ended was a complicated campaign, especially from the point of view of work organization and the protection of our employees" - said Giovanni De Angelis, General Manager of ANICAV. “But our companies have managed to manage this difficult situation in the best way. Our supply chain, which already normally guarantees high quality and safety standards by applying all the rules and protocols signed between Confindustria and the unions, never stopped, even in the long lockdown period, because it is considered strategic and called to guarantee the supply of goods. essential in Italy and abroad".

To guarantee the high quality standards of pureed, peeled, pulp and cherry tomatoes it was necessary to use a greater quantities of fresh tomatoes, with a consequent decrease in industrial yields. Furthermore, as regards the price of raw materials - which remains the highest in the world - there was, in particular in the Center South, an important increase compared to the amount paid in 2019.

"Italy is confirmed as the absolute first processor of quality tomato products intended directly for the final consumer -peeled tomatoes, pulps, purées and cherry tomatoes-, and the first exporter globally" - continued De Angelis. “However, we overlook an original sin: we let the market push the processed tomato and its culture into a corner, reducing it to a commodity that, over the years, has impoverished our products, effectively weakening the perception of their quality. The goal must be to remove the tomato from the concept of low-cost commodity, focusing on informing and training the  consumers so they are consciously willing to pay a premium price which includes their own social well-being and that of the generations to come, and that they recognize the efforts made by the supply chain in terms of ethical and environmental sustainability ". 

Retail & Horeca: from the stock effect to the drastic drop in consumption
The season was characterized by particular attention due to the difficult situation of warehouse stocks, virtually nil for retail formats due to the increase in consumption that began with the lockdown period and continued thereafter. In light of the production obtained this year, it will be very difficult for these types of productions to bridge the gap into next season.

The scenario is different for the Horeca channel (bars, restaurants, hotels) - which absorbs about 1/3 of the production of tomato products:  in the months of restrictions due to the pandemic, sales recorded a net collapse linked to the closure of consumption channels away from home both in Italy and in foreign markets with negative effects that still continue today even taking into account the current epidemiological and regulatory evolution.

In both cases, however, it is an extraordinary situation, linked to the pandemic event, which cannot in any way be considered structural.

Source: ANICAV

These topics will addressed in more details by Marco Serafini (DESCO) and Francesco Mutti (MUTTI) during the Tomato News Online Conference on Tuesday 17 November.  
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