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95% of the fruit and vegetables sold by Conad are produced in Italy

By Claudio Gamberini, national fruit and vegetable manager at the Italian large-scale distribution group, Conad *

Claudio Gamberini, responsable national fruits et légumes Conad
Claudio Gamberini, responsable national fruits et légumes Conad

Ever since its creation fifty years ago, fresh products have always been a strategic priority for the Conad group.

95% of the fruit and vegetables sold in our 2,959 sales points in Italy are produced in Italy, in the case of tomatoes it is 100%. The rare exceptions are products such as bananas or pineapples that are not cultivated on the Italian peninsula.

Italy is one of the largest producers of fruit and vegetables in Europe, which enables us to give priority to national production, assuming the quality and price are right, thereby reducing transport requirements. We deliver fresh produce six days a week, and the variety of our sales points, ranging from large supermarkets to local mini-markets, allows us to be very close to our customers.

The Italian consumer is showing a growing preference for regional products. A trend that is linked to the development of products associated with a particular area.

And it is no accident that for the publicity campaign launched to celebrate 150 years of Italian Unification in 2011, Conad chose the green of lettuce, the white of fennel and the red of tomato to represent the colours of the national flag. We are making every effort to satisfy these new consumer preferences.

Develop the Internet sales

Short supply chains are a part of this, even if they remain a niche market. For example, in June 2011 Nordiconad (483 sales points, 130 of which are in Piedmont, the Aosta Valley and Liguria), in partnership with Ortofruit, launched a campaign with the slogan "fruit and vegetables that speak Piedmontese". The objective was to promote regional seasonal production (beefsteak tomatoes, peppers, aubergines, courgettes etc.) and to reduce the impact of transport on the environment. This campaign, identified by a specific brand, continued until October 2011.

Again with a view to promoting regional products, particularly fresh products, Conad launched two brands : Sapori & Dintorni and Conad Percorso qualità.

The first aims to promote typical regional Italian products, in an initiative that has the support of the ministry of agricultural policy. It has enabled us to contribute to the development of this distribution channel and to participate in its promotion through exports via co-operative partner networks. Sapori & Dintorni achieved sales of 150 M€ in 2010, representing an increase of 25%.
Conad Qualità, which is aimed specifically at fresh products such as fruit and vegetables, offers a guarantee of the best possible quality, due to a traceability that includes every operator in the supply chain, from production, to transport, to the sales point.

Lastly, we plan to develop the Internet sales, but this is more difficult with fruit and vegetables than for other categories of products, since they are often an impulse purchase.

*A co-operative group that is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2012, Conad operates in partnership with Leclerc in France, and achieved sales of €10.25 billion euros in 2011 with 2,959 sales points in Italy.

Lundi 23 Avril 2012

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