Dolce Passione: the watermelon that makes the difference. After 30 years, the black rind watermelon is back on the Italian market. Previewed at Macfrut

Rimini (6 May 2022) – After over 30 years, the black rind watermelon is back on the Italian market. Yet this is no step back into the past but a real taste evolution, the result of research conducted over 7 years.

The black rind watermelon ‘Dolce Passione’ that is about to hit the market from mid-May is proudly all ‘Made in Italy’ and is certain to make a splash. Firstly, the uniqueness of this product, a seedless watermelon in the premium range, is sure to have a knock-on effect with consumers falling in love with other varieties of watermelon. Moreover, this project is unusual as it is the result of a collaboration involving Lamboseeds (Sant’Agata Bolognese), a company engaged in experimentation and advanced research, working alongside companies from the world of production and trade, namely, Alma Seges (Eboli, Salerno), and Ortofrutta Castello (Stanghella, Padua).

“This new dark-rind “midi” watermelon was created in collaboration with our partners, Castello and Alma Seges, to bring a breath of fresh air to the watermelon market – states Sandro Colombi, director of Lamboseeds – It was not created as a restyling of an old variety but as new genetics. We have produced something quite different by focusing above all on defining unique characteristics and special quality. After conducting trials in the field over a few years, we have launched Dolce Passion on the market. Its name combines the primary characteristic of this watermelon, its sweetness, and the passion we put into creating it. The idea that led to the creation of this new type of watermelon was to find the midpoint between the production requirements and the consumers’ needs. From these early results, it seems we have succeeded”.

The result is a watermelon with a bright, uniform black rind and with a lively and crunchy red flesh. The flavour is sugary (minimum 12 degrees Brix and decidedly sweeter than the traditional variety). The absence of seeds means it is rich in fibre. Production stands at around 4,000 tonnes in this early phase and is spread through various parts of Italy (from Sicily to Lombardy) for a total area of around 100 hectares in the areas most suited to watermelon production.

“The main need was to create a supply chain on a new product, built in collaboration with various partners – says Pierluigi Castello, Castello’s sales manager – We are convinced that it will be successful not only thanks to its organoleptic characteristics but also its size, as this watermelon weighs between 3 and 5 kg, and cost, as well as its ability to satisfy different needs such as the presence of a low amount of waste, i.e. the rind, and has a large quantity of edible flesh”.

“After an experimental phase of launching and testing on both domestic and foreign markets, we are today ready to launch our challenge with Dolce Passion – states Carmine Alfano of Alma Seges – The dominant market will be domestic, representing around 70/80%, and with good prospects abroad as well. In addition to the whole product, a fourth range product will also be on the market to satisfy the curiosity and needs of consumers who have significantly changed their habits in recent years. We are happy, proud, and hopeful that we will soon have promising results”.

 

The market segment of the product is high and the choice to present it as a preview at Macfrut, the most important Italian fair in this sector and an event increasingly oriented towards technological and product innovation, is no coincidence. Indeed, Dolce Passione is an innovative product destined to leave its mark in a watermelon market with big numbers. According to the experts, consumption of this fruit is even higher than that of bananas. It is estimated that worldwide production is close to 100 million tonnes, making it the most consumed fruit.

The consumption of this product could further expand in the future, favoured by factors such as the increase in global temperatures which in turn increase the consumption of this fruit. In fact, this fruit is climateric and consumers are especially interested in buying it in summer when it expresses its maximum production potential. Moreover, watermelon is also popular for its low-calorie content and the high presence of water in the flesh which makes it thirst-quenching and rich in lycopene, an antioxidant considered beneficial for health.

Another reason for the success of the watermelon is given by the demographic increase of a further 2.5 billion inhabitants on our planet, especially in countries with hot or very hot climates such as those in Africa, America, or Asia.

The interest of consumers in countries with greater spending capacity focuses above all on seedless watermelons. Seedless watermelons produce smaller fruits, which are easier to transport and consume.

Currently, consumers still tend to look for striped fruits among the different types of watermelons marketed, but there is a rise in the consumption of black rind watermelons with bright pink flesh that are seedless or with few edible seeds.

The global production sees China in the lead, followed by Iran, Russia, India, and Turkey. According to the latest available data, Italian production covers an area of approximately 16,000 hectares and yields approximately 539,000 tonnes of watermelons. The principal growing areas are Lazio, Puglia, Sicily, Lombardy, Campania, and Emilia-Romagna.

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