"Soft fruit has always been a niche product and the relationship between supply and demand has always been balanced. Our company started selling soft fruit 30 years ago and I must say that sales have gradually increased since then."
Roberto Basso, sole administrator of P&B Srl, part of the ABC group, explains about the trends in the soft fruit market.
"Our company sells produce 12 months a year. 95% of the fruit comes from Trentino, Piedmont and Veneto and Basilicata has also started producing a few years ago."
The most popular fruits are blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, currants, gooseberries and wild strawberries. "During winter, we import produce from Spain, Mexico, Chile and the Netherlands. France and Eastern European countries also grow this kind of fruit but their production season overlaps with ours."
Prices depend on the country of origin, and especially on availability and transportation costs.
"In Italy, plants start producing now and continue until late June or even later. The leading companies in this sector are Sant'Orsola in Trento, Garden Frutta in Verona and Comifrut in Cuneo."
"We sell our produce to wholesalers and retailers, mostly in Italy. Many of our buyers then re-export our fruit abroad. The most active channel is definitely R&D."
"The most popular packets are our 1 kg crate containing 8 125 gram trays. Blueberries are the most demanded, whereas gooseberries are not that well-known yet.
P&B also specialises in "extra exotic" fruit. Soft fruit represent 3-4% of the total annual turnover.
Photo Credit: FreshPlaza