An Italian job: fennel becomes super snack

A ‘super’ fennel from Southern Italy is set to woo the UK fresh snacks market with its enhanced nutritional powers.Backed by a marketing campaign promoting the veg as a Marvel comicstyle hero, sliced and prepacked Fenny Hearts
will come with a choice of optional condiments when they hit premium retailers later this year.

“Our ambition is to introduce a different way to taste and enjoy fennel, based on the natural product, freshly served,” said Salvatore Caputo, country sales manager for growers and processors La Gioventù, based in Pagani, Campania. The company has invested heavily in developing the new Fenny brand, including processing and handling systems to extend traceability and shelf life. Grown year-round on 100 farms across Southern Italy selected for their mineral soils and climatic conditions, Fenny fennel is said to be particularly rich in heart-healthy vitamins and a range of other nutrients including potassium, calcium and phosphorous. To preserve these, the fennel is hand-harvested at night and the bulbs are rinsed in an antibacterial washing system using water enhanced with ozone and added citric acid to prevent oxidation. The fennel is then maintained at a constant 5C throughout to prolong shelf life. Fenny is already available as whole, individually QR-coded bulbs across Italy, where fresh fennel is popular served whole with salt and olive oil. Fenny Hearts snack packs were an attempt to popularise it in the UK, said Caputo. The company has signed a deal with London-based specialist home delivery and delicatessen supplier Nife Is Life and is currently in discussions with retailers. It is also due to set up its own London-based import and distributor arm, Alto Fine Foods, within the next month.

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