Macfrut, Daily 8th May

08 May, 2024

Indoor-grown officinal plants and evolved fresh-cut products. These are some of the events on the first day of Macfrut, the international fresh produce supply chain trade show that opened its doors yesterday in Rimini to a full house and will run through Friday, May 10, with a packed program. 


"Let's shed light" on officinal plants: Indoor cultivation experience and pharmaceutical applications

Vertical farming: the importance of multidisciplinary collaborations, crucial in academia, crosses innovative agronomic practices to the benefit of health and quality of life. Without forgetting the need for almost continuous research, as pointed out by Andrea Primavera President of Fippo (Italian Federation of Officinal Plant Producers). It is around these concepts that the conference "Let's shed some light on officinal plants: Indoor cultivation experience and applications in the pharmaceutical field," within the Spices&Herbs Global Expo, dedicated to officinal plants, herbs and spices, was developed.  

Promoted by the Department of Agri-food Science and Technology of the University of Bologna, the event brought the world of university research and its young professors together with the entrepreneurial world in direct application in protected fields, then concluded the conference with a guided tour of real small farms, suitable for the creation of home gardens. The event focused precisely on this area of application in relation to the results that research is achieving regarding the possibility of increasing yields through ad hoc bio-engineered cultivation systems as in the case of crop-specific light recipes (carried out, for example, on Madagascar Periwinkle, Coleus and Taus Baccata). 


Fresh-cut products and fresh-cut evolved products: technological strategies for process/product innovation

In the first day-long event of the Innovation Hub for Healthy food show, fresh-cut products were examined. Fresh-cut produce consists of fruits and vegetables and, in general, fresh, packaged and ready-to-eat vegetables. Out of 100 people who buy this category, more than half are not fond of any particular brand. Some are more recognizable, but for most there is no awareness about brands. Also influencing this scenario is the high market share of private label, which exceeds 50 percent in super and hyper markets, and 70 percent in discount stores. According to data from the conference "Fresh-cut and evolved fresh-cut products: technological strategies for product innovation," out of 100 people who pass through the fruit and vegetable department, only nine stop at the fresh-cut refrigerators to make a purchase. 

"Faced with this loss of ground," said Giancarlo Colelli, DAFNE University of Foggia, "a major communication effort is needed based on just a few of the product's pluses, such as, for example, the sustainability of the packaging or the freshness of the product. But research has made great strides by coming, for example, to establish with spectrometric images the quality level of vegetables or fruits with the highest precision, both in terms of freshness but also in terms of nutritional intake".

It is currently difficult for struggling companies to invest in both communication and research, although there are large publicly funded projects underway involving partners either public, such as research institutions, or private. 

Product quality, unconventional packaging with controlled atmosphere, faster and faster detection of the presence of possible pathogens, entry of new vegetables into the fresh-cut processing chain, thermal treatments to increase the nutritional and organoleptic quality as well as the safety of salads, or, again, using nano-encapsulated natural ingredients to reduce the microbial load in freshly harvested material. 


Events of the second day, May 9 

Today, Thursday, May 9, opens with the World Table Grape Symposium, which shines a spotlight on market trends and production trends by involving the world's top buyers in the Macfrut Table Grape Global player.  

The Spices&Herbs Global Expo opens with the 11th Fippo Forum, the international forum that attracts officinal plant producers from around the world. 

Also kicking off is the Biosolutions International Congress on “Which Biosolutions for high-quality cherries”? 

Regarding international events, "Initiatives and Tools for Developing International Partnerships in the Fruit and Vegetable and Agribusiness Sector: focus Africa" and "Presentation of the Agricultural Transformation Program. An opportunity to strengthen the beneficial partnership between the Democratic Republic of Congo and Italy".

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