- François-Xavier Branthôme
A budget of 47 million to promote production
A major relaunch operation has started with the support of Invitalia which, under the Development Contract, will distribute EUR 23.7 million in subsidies to several Italian companies engaged in a process of expanding their production. Another part (EUR 10.9 million) of the total funding (EUR 47.4 million) has been granted by the Campania region, which has signed a special development agreement with the Ministry of Economic Development, given the significant impact of investment on the competitiveness of the local production system.
The objective of this investment of more than EUR 47 million is to boost the production of canned tomatoes and to install new lines for the production of pulses.
The “PomoIn” development contract represents an important opportunity for participating companies and for the territory they represent. The project makes it possible to share the results of research by promoting strategically interconnected services.
The companies involved in the development plan are: Alfonso Sellitto, Con.Sar., Di Leo Nobile, La Torrente, Calispa and De Clemente Conserve.
Alfonso Sellitto, Managing Director of the company of the same name, explains: “The objective is to strengthen our presence in foreign markets, by improving the quality of the canned processed tomatoes that we offer. One of the strengths of the project is the transfer of innovation results. More precisely, among other processes, we try to recover the lycopene present in the skin of tomatoes, because we know that the antioxidant potential of this substance increases with cooking, as the heat makes it possible to break down the molecule and activate it.” The company sells processed tomato products under the La Valle brand, particularly on the American market.
Thanks to the new equipment, production sites will be achieving a big technological advance, with innovations that comply with the National Industry Plan 4.0 (see appendices). The investment aims to improve the competitiveness and innovation capacity of the local production system, in which six agrifood companies are involved, representing the province of Salerno and located within a radius of 15 km from each other.
For Filippo Torrente, sales director of the company of the same name, which produces sauces, peeled tomatoes and passata: “The PomoIn development contract will allow us to run an industrial research and experimental development project, carried out collaboratively, aimed at developing a tomato product that is innovative for the market, with very high added-value, rich in nutraceuticals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids, mineral salts and which can be considered as a superfood. The study phase relating to industrial research is also being carried out with significant investments aimed at increasing the capacity of tomato processing lines, with the pooling of results within the network."
A research and development project is also planned, with expenditure of EUR 3.4 million, for the production of new high-quality tomato products with lower environmental impact, but characterized by a high nutritional value, intended in particular for premium baby foods and the high-end catering sector.
“This project,” concluded Alfonso Sellitto, “will allow us to get back on track after business ceased completely during the confinement, which plunged the HoReCa sector into a serious crisis at a global level. In addition, companies that are very active in the export sector have been heavily impacted, in particular in Italy, which is the second largest tomato processor in the world after the United States and represents almost 14% of the world’s production and 50% of European operations.”
Some additional data
National Industry Development Plan 4.0 (Italian):
Sources: freshplaza.it, invitalia.it