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ANICAV : Filo Rosso del Pomodoro 2021

09/12/2021 - Press release , François-Xavier Branthôme - Lire en français
For tomorrow's consumers: Conscious choices and buying habits

ANICAV Public Assembly: Research conducted by SWG confirms that young consumers pay a lot of attention to labelling and information regarding the origin of raw materials used.
Anicav: "We target young people to reinforce the image of our products, in the context of misinformation generated by a constant stream of sterile attacks."

The buying habits of young consumers, their knowledge of tomato products and the importance of sustainability in the processing tomato chain: these were the topics at the heart of the Public Assembly of the ANICAV, the world’s largest association representing tomato processing companies, held in Naples on December 2, as part of the annual conference "Il Filo Rosso del Pomodoro". This was the ninth edition of this event dedicated entirely to processing tomatoes. 

 "The last season was clearly a long and intense one," said Marco Serafini, President of ANICAV. "With more than 6 million tonnes of tomatoes processed, Italy has once again become the second most important processing country in the world, ahead of China, and is now the world's leading producer and exporter of processed products intended directly for end-consumers. Despite the positive production results, companies have had to face a series of critical issues linked to increasing production costs: from primary to secondary packaging, from freight rates to energy charges. Many challenges await us in the near future, and we will have to use all our best entrepreneurial skills to face them successfully and turn obstacles into opportunities. In this process, the contribution of our young people who represent the future of the sector will be fundamental. With this in mind, in order to better understand the scenario that awaits us in the coming years, we have commissioned SWG and Laboratorio Adolescenza to study the purchasing habits of tomorrow's consumers."

The presentation of this research launched by the ANICAV was the central moment of the day. The objective was to take a "snapshot" of the purchasing habits and the real knowledge of young consumers regarding tomato products. The results were analyzed during a round table discussion, with the participation of four young company leaders of the sector: Diodato Ferraioli (La Doria spa), Rosanna Sellitto (President of the ANICAV’s Young Entrepreneurs Group), Alessandro Squeri (Steriltom spa) and Gaetano Torrente (La Torrente srl).

"The results of this survey give us a very clear picture of the future scenario of our sector and show us where we need to intervene more effectively," explained Giovanni De Angelis, ANICAV's General Manager. "The fact that 6 out of 10 consumers pay attention to the label and to the information provided confirms that our commitment to transparency and traceability is going in the right direction. However, there is still much to be done: if 4 out of 10 people think that there may be non-Italian tomatoes on the shelves, we must work to fight against the misinformation generated by the continuous stream of attacks and the specious polemics that confuse consumers. The canned tomatoes we consume are different from the paste imported from the USA, China, Spain or Portugal. These semi-finished products, used for markets and for tomato products other than those present on our supermarket shelves, allow everyone, in any part of the world and throughout the year, to consume a product that has the same organoleptic and nutritional characteristics as fresh tomatoes."

The SWG Youth Food Consumption Survey
The research and focus groups, conducted on a representative sample of 18-26 year olds with very different profiles, revealed some interesting facts.
Youth involvement in food shopping is fairly widespread. About 63% of them say they do this often or fairly often, alone or with others. With a percentage of 69%, women are more likely to do this than men, whose involvement only reaches 56%.

Canned tomatoes are an important part of food expenditure for 76% of the young people surveyed, who show a high level of involvement in purchasing decisions, even when still living within their family unit.
Processed tomato products present acknowledged benefits compared to fresh products, such as convenience, ease of consumption and lower price. An interesting fact is that for more than half of the respondents (54%), the consumption of canned food is seen as significantly contributing to the fight against food waste.

In terms of purchasing behavior, tomato products are clearly a basic component of the Italian diet, even for the youngest age groups. Up to 7 out of 10 people say they buy them frequently. As for the preferences given to the different product categories, passata is the most purchased formula for 53% of the respondents, combining practicality and cost-effectiveness. Next are pulps (23%), whole peeled tomatoes (12%) and cherry tomatoes or datterini tomatoes (9%). Tomato paste ranks last, preferred in only 3% of cases.

It is also interesting to note that large differences seem to exist between regions, some of which also contrast with national averages. While passata are the most purchased products everywhere, they feature on the shopping list of up to 65% of consumers in the northwest of Italy, while dropping to 44% and 45% respectively in the south and on the islands.

 SWG is a leading company in market and opinion research; Laboratorio Adolescenza is an association whose aim is to promote and disseminate study and research results regarding teenagers.

Significant and contrasting variations are also observed for whole-peeled tomatoes, which are preferred by 7% of respondents in the north of the country, unlike the south of Italy, where the percentage increases to 21% (almost double the national average). The contrasts for the other types of canned tomato products are less significant.

Among the factors that influence purchasing choices, price ranks first (88%), followed by brand (71%), packaging (55%) and finally word of mouth (53%).
In the choice of canned products, packaging is crucial, and glass reigns supreme because it allows direct appreciation of the product. Despite its infinite recyclability, steel used for making cans motivates only 14% of respondents.
Packaging is also fundamental as a vector of information. It is considered as an essential tool for understanding products, particularly in terms of the raw materials used and countries of packaging, with the label being the focus of increasing attention. More than 6 out of 10 people surveyed say that they always or fairly often read the information about the origin and packaging location of the product to be purchased, with the more attentive consumers showing a greater propensity to choose according to the Italianity of a product, which they consider as synonymous with quality and safety.

In terms of safety and quality, 36% of consumers think that Italian products offer better guarantees, while 39% consider that there are no significant differences between Italian products and those from other EU countries. At the same time, 11% think that products from outside the EU are less safe. For 37% of those surveyed, the only aspect that affects quality and safety is the origin of the raw material. But 39% of consumers confuse this origin with the place of packaging. Finally, the origin of the raw material used for canned tomatoes produced in Italy is not well known: only 4 out of 10 respondents know that this means it is 100% Italian.

Regarding the issue of illegal labor (the caporalato), 44% think that it is related to the tomato harvest, but only in certain regions, while 29% associate it with the country’s harvest overall. 15% of those consulted are not familiar with the problem.

Some additional data:

 ANICAV, the National Industrial Association of Vegetable Processors, founded in Naples on February 5, 1945, is the largest association representing tomato processing companies in the world in terms of the number of member companies and the quantity of products processed. It includes 80 of the 115 companies operating in Italy, which process about 70% of all processed tomatoes in the country and almost all the whole peeled tomatoes produced in the world, with a turnover of EUR 2.8 billion in 2020 (more than 70% of the total turnover of the Italian tomato processing sector). About 60% of the production is exported, both to Europe (Germany, France, United Kingdom) and to other countries (USA, Japan, Australia), making the tomato an ambassador of "Made in Italy" excellence around the world.

Sources: ANICAV
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