Giancarlo Minguzzi, Minguzzi S.p.A. Consortile:
Waste is halved with new apple pre-calibration system by UNITEC
The Italian company Minguzzi S.p.A. Consortile, owned by the Minguzzi family, has produced, processed and marketed fresh fruit since 1960. In its factory in Alfonsine (Ravenna), the company has recently installed a complete system for pre-calibration of the apples in water, designed and built by UNITEC.
Giancarlo Minguzzi, company owner, said: "The apple is the fruit that more than any other has a need for accuracy at every stage of selection and packaging. It is a very delicate fruit and even a slight bruise can damage its quality. That's why I chose the solution offered by UNITEC that, from emptying to filling of the bins in water, gently accompanying the apples through the whole process, selecting them precisely and accurately according to size, weight, colour and exterior defects."
Under the line designed by UNITEC, all stages of fruit processing take place in water where the apples, floating, freely travel throughout the process.
Minguzzi points out: "Thanks to the new equipment provided by UNITEC, in addition to savings in terms of manpower, with the assignment of more tiring and repetitive works to machines, I halved the percentage of bruised product, which was first in the order of 3-4%. Further, thanks to the fact that the apples come out with a better quality from pre-calibration, manual packaging is also faster as additional selections are minimized." According to Minguzzi, the new plant will lead to a 20% reduction in working time at the end of the campaign.
The comment on the marketing season
The company Minguzzi works for the whole year, except during May. In the Alfonsine-based factory a total volume of 25,000 tons of fruit passes through, including apples, pears, kiwifruit and summer fruit (peaches, nectarines, plums and apricots). The production is all Italian, with a 25-30% coming directly from the orchards of the family, the rest delivered by partners (one hundred) and third parties.
Two-thirds of main markets are foreign (old Europe and Scandinavia), Italy is represented by the remaining one-third. For the last 4-5 years, in order to diversify, the company has also initiated relationships with overseas clients in USA, Canada, Brazil and China (with limited volumes).
"We sell 50% of the production under Minguzzi brand, the rest is under private label of big retail or co-branding; this is the case of the apples as Melapił Consortium or Pink Lady," says the owner.
As for 2010/11 kiwifruit campaign, Minguzzi said: "The season went pretty well until December, but then it was more problematic in early January, when usually more attractive prices come out. This time ratings were decidedly disappointing. We were out of the decreasing trend due to the fact that, joining the "Made in Blu" Consortium, we place our products in a premium market segment."
Definitely the apple season (August-late April) has been better. Minguzzi is a specialist in this segment (with a production of 5,000 tons) in varieties, such as Gala, Fuji (marketed through the Melapił Consortium, which the company joins) and Cripps Pink (better known under the commercial brand Pink Lady).
As for the season of summer fruit, Giancarlo Minguzzi remarks on: "Flowers appear good. We are thinking with our producer members about a possible pruning, that allows us to work rather on product quality than on volumes."
"In general we believe that in the fruit sector there is still room to grow in terms of quality, especially in terms of taste profile of the products. The taste is the only positive factor able to foster consumers' loyalty and help us to improve margins" concludes Minguzzi
Minguzzi S.p.A. Consortile
Via Reale 160
48011 Alfonsine (RA) Italy
Tel.: +39 (0)544 81260
Fax: +39 (0)544 80709
Via Provinciale Cotignola, 20/9
48022 Lugo (RA)
Tel.: +39 (0)545 288884
Fax: +39 (0)545 288709