Fresh-Cut Fruit And Vegetables
Fresh-cut fruit and vegetables are those fresh vegetables and fruit that, after harvesting, are subjected to minimal technological processes aimed at ensuring their hygienic safety and enhancement, following good processing practices. These treatments are mainly based on the maintenance of the cold chain, which must in fact be a constant that accompanies the fruit and vegetable product in all its phases, from post-harvest to consumption. Therefore, Fresh-cut fruit and vegetables are defined as fruits, vegetables and, in general, fresh vegetables, with a high service content, packaged and ready for consumption.
The Fresh-cut products combines genuineness and aspects of ease consumption and thus provides a food that well responds to the main trends of food consumption: towards packaged and ready-to-use foods, suitable for the family model and the presence of women's work outside the home, with a high natural content and health requirements (healthy). Among the advantages of buying fresh-cut products, time saving is one of the fundamental aspects, but also important are the low caloric content, the richness of fibers and mineral salts, antioxidant properties, voluminousness and practicality.
The pandemic and in particular the lockdown of spring 2020 have heavily affected the sales of the fresh-cut fruit and vegetables. In 2020, the fresh-cut fruit and vegetables in Italy marked their first decline: -4.1% the decrease in volumes sold at the large-scale retail trade where the reduction in expenditure is even more evident: -5.6% compared to 2019 due to lower average prices. At the base of the trend reversal observed in 2020 there are certainly the new buying habits in the pandemic period, changed by virtue of the greater time spent at home and the greater attention to spending of a significant slice of the population, but also given the lower need to quickly prepare a light meal to take to the office. The only segment among the fresh-cut fruit and vegetables to show an increase in sales is that of "ready to cook", which represent only 8% of the sector, but whose sales grew compared to 2019 by 5.7% in volume, with a + 7.5% in value.
With regard to distribution, in 2020 sales of fresh-cut fruit and vegetables were down in all distribution channels and only discounters showed greater resilience, with a decrease of 1%.