Global fruit and vegetable industry to meet at Macfrut 2024

Rimini Expo Centre, 8-10 May 2024: 1,400 exhibitors (+22%), 40% of them foreign, and 1,500 top buyers. Themed exhibitions, a global focus on Table Grapes, with the Arabian Peninsula and the Italian region of Apulia as partner areas. Fruit and vegetables, a strategic sector for Italy: production worth €16 billion, exports worth €11.6 billion (fresh and processed products)

El sector hortofrutícola de todo el mundo se reúne en Macfrut 2024.jpeg
10 April, 2024

The global fruit and vegetable supply chain will gather at Macfrut, Rimini Expo Centre, from 8 to 10 May 2024. A 41st edition with record figures: 1,400 exhibitors representing the entire supply chain (+22%); an increased exhibition area of 34,000 net square metres (+20%), which was sold out three months ago; a growing number of foreign exhibitors, accounting for 40% of the total, making Macfrut the most international agrifood event in Italy. In addition, 1,500 top buyers from all over the world thanks to the decisive support of ICE - Italian Trade Agency, themed exhibitions on the sector’s trends coordinated by a team of experts, a double test field of approximately 3,000 square metres dedicated to innovations in the fruit and vegetable sector, and about 100 events scheduled during the three-day trade fair. The main theme of the event is the three assets that make Macfrut a unique event on the international scene, thanks to its ability to combine business, knowledge and networking through a dedicated B2B platform.  


Spotlight on the fruit and vegetable sector 

The focus is on the fruit and vegetable supply chain, a strategic sector of the Italian agri-food industry. According to ISMEA (Institute of Services for the Agricultural Food Market), the production of fruit and vegetables in 2023 was estimated at around 24 million tonnes, on an area of around 1.3 million hectares of fruit and vegetables, involving 300,000 farms.  

The agricultural turnover exceeded €16 billion, and the agro-industry also plays an important role with a turnover of more than €10 billion. In 2023, the export earnings from fresh fruit and preserves amounted to €11.6 billion, of which €5.7 billion came from fresh produce. The trade balance for fresh fruit and vegetables was positive at €550 million, lower than in 2022 (€620 million). The entire fruit and vegetable supply chain (from the field to the table) is valued at approximately €50 billion, which is about three times the value of production.  

In terms of consumption, the ISMEA data also shows a decline in purchases. The two years of the pandemic (2020-2021) had raised hopes for an increase in fruit and vegetable consumption, but the gradual return to pre-pandemic life outside the home brought purchases to a halt in 2023. In particular, bulk purchases of citrus fruits (-7%), potatoes (-4%) and fresh-cut salads (-4%) decreased. Sales of fruit remained stable (-0.1%), while sales of vegetables increased by 1%. 


Macfrut, an increasingly international trade fair 

This is the hallmark of this edition, as evidenced by the fact that more than a third of the exhibitors come from abroad. The international focus will be on the Arabian Peninsula, where an initiative launched three years ago will see the participation of around 100 buyers from the region, mainly interested in apples, kiwis and table grapes. According to data from ICE - Italian Trade Agency, Italian exports to the region have increased in four years, from €73 million in 2020 to €114 million last year (+56%). The market is almost exclusively concentrated in two areas: Saudi Arabia, worth €76 million, and the United Arab Emirates, worth €29 million. 

Also from the Arabian Peninsula, Emirates SkyCargo will be attending the trade fair with around 100 buyers to highlight the opportunities for business in the region as a logistics hub. Silvia Tagliaferri, Cargo Manager for Italy at Emirates SkyCargo, said:

‘Italian products are among the best in the world and, to fully appreciate them, it is essential to maintain their quality and freshness throughout the transportation process and at every point of contact. With our technology, which ensures a constant temperature, facilities, equipment and highly trained staff, Emirates SkyCargo is able to transport 900-1,000 tonnes of perishable goods every day. We look forward to meeting with our customers and growers at Macfrut 2024 to show how our global experience can help them expand their business to over 140 destinations across our global network, while maintaining optimal taste and freshness.’  

At the trade fair, there will be a pavilion dedicated to the African continent. Macfrut has been focusing on Africa for years and, with the implementation of the ‘Mattei Plan’, it has become increasingly strategic in the government’s international policy. The trade fair will host 400 exhibitors from 24 African countries, mainly growers, but also importers of agricultural technology and technical products for agriculture. Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Morocco, Namibia and Togo will be taking part for the first time. Larger exhibitors include Egypt, Algeria, South Africa, Nigeria, Mozambique and Mali with 37 companies.  

Many exhibitors will also come from South America, with groups from Chile, Panama and the Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Cuba and Argentina. 

There will also be 22 wholesalers from Spain, representing the two leading European markets (Madrid and Barcelona), who are particularly interested in meeting exporters of apples, kiwis and table grapes from Italy.  

India is one of the new participants, with 50 top buyers attending, along with Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Lebanon, Brazil and Argentina. In total, there will be 1,500 top buyers from around the world representing various product categories, technologies and the supply chains.  

Around fifty presentations were held around the world, both in person and via streaming, which were crucial to Macfrut’s internationalisation efforts. This was made possible thanks to the invaluable support of ICE - Italian Trade Agency. The collaboration of AICS (Italian Agency for Cooperation and Development) has also been invaluable, with 13 of the Agency’s 19 international offices (Albania, Burkina Faso, Niger, Senegal, Mozambique, Tunisia, Egypt, Lebanon, Vietnam, Palestine, El Salvador, Cuba, and Colombia) represented at the trade fair.  


Apulia takes centre stage 

Apulia, famous for its excellent fruit and vegetables, will be the partner region of Macfrut. The region will have a major presence at the trade fair, promoting Apulia’s agri-food products through conferences, events, and tastings, and showcasing itself on the international stage.  

The focus will be on certified fruit and vegetables, in particular PGI products such as ‘Uva da Tavola IGP’ (PGI table grapes), which account for 60% of national production, and ‘Cipolla Bianca di Margherita IGP’ (PGI white onion), ‘Arancia del Gargano IGP’ (PGI orange), ‘Lenticchia di Altamura’ (PGI lentil), ‘Patata Novella di Galatina DOP’ (PDO new potato), ‘Carciofo Brindisino IGP’ (PGI artichoke), and ‘La Bella della Daunia DOP’ (PDO olive).  

In the first three quarters of 2023, the Apulian fruit and vegetable sector maintained its highly active status on international markets, with exports worth €623 million. The sector boasts a large number of companies and employees, with 32,552 companies employing 61,139 people (source: INPS). 


Themed exhibitions 

This is one of the distinguishing features of Macfrut. With a production of 1 million tonnes, Table Grapes are the star product and an excellent example of Made in Italy excellence in the fruit and vegetable sector, making Italy the leading table grape producer in Europe. Table grapes will be the focus of the Macfrut Table Grape Symposium, the world’s leading symposium that will bring together major experts and global players during the three days of the trade fair to take stock of research, market trends, production performance, product innovation and business strategies.  

Two new exhibitions are planned: the Innovation Hub for Healthy Food, dedicated to sustainable products and processing technologies for the production of foods with high nutritional value, and the Agrisolar Systems & Technologies, showcasing the opportunities offered by photovoltaic energy generation to support agricultural production.  

There is also the Biosolutions International Event with around 60 exhibitors, making Macfrut the leading event in Europe for natural plant protection, nutrition and biostimulation products. Also in terms of innovation, the Plant Nursery area, dedicated to the plant nursery industry, will also host the International Rootstocks Symposium (IRS). Also confirmed are the Spices & Herbs Global Expo, the European exhibition dedicated to spices, aromatic and medicinal herbs; Pianeta Rosso, dedicated to the tomato supply chain; and Acqua Campus, dedicated to water-saving innovations and technologies.  

A double test field will be set up at the trade fair, covering an area of approximately 3,000 square metres and divided into two halls: one dedicated to fruit growing (Hall C1 - Agri Field Solution) and the other to soilless production techniques, commercial and industrial horticulture, and mechanisation (Hall A1 – Machinery Solutions). 

All exhibitions are coordinated by a team of internationally renowned experts.  


Poultry Forum 

The Africa & Mediterranean Poultry Forum, an international event for the poultry industry, will take place on the same days as Macfrut (8-10 May), promoted by Fieravicola in collaboration with Assoavi (Association of Italian egg producers) and Unaitalia (National Union of Meat and Egg Food Chains). It is an opportunity to take an in-depth look at the poultry industry and to discuss with institutions and stakeholders how to systematically improve networking throughout the supply chain.  

A three-day event covering a range of topics: animal welfare and supporting technologies, supply chain competitiveness and development proposals, international focus on African countries and scientific conferences.  

The first day will focus on discussing the challenges facing the Italian poultry supply chain and will include the presentation of a study conducted by ISMEA (Institute of Services for the Agricultural Food Market) on the prospects for the sector in Italy. 

The second day will consist of two sessions: the first session will cover international issues, with a special emphasis on the development of the poultry sector in Africa and the Mediterranean. Many buyers from these countries, interested in Italian technologies, genetics and veterinary products, have been invited to the trade fair. The second session will provide an in-depth analysis of how technology and innovation can play a key role in addressing today’s challenges. The prospects of in-ovo sexing, vaccination and insurance will be among the topics discussed. 

Conferences will be held on the third day (Friday 10 May) to discuss technical and scientific aspects with a focus on Italian poultry and rabbit farming. Experts from all around the world who collaborate with the industry’s scientific bodies, including WPSA (World’s Poultry Science Association), SIPA (Italian Society of Avian Diseases) and ASIC (the Italian branch of the WRSA - World Rabbit Science Association), will participate. 



Macfrut is organised by Cesena Fiera and will be held at the Rimini Expo Centre on 8-9-10 May 2024, from 9.30 a.m. to 6 p.m.  

Plan de Recuperación, Transformación y Resiliencia Financiado por la Unión Europea