Interview with Federica Ferrari, CEO of Agro del Kiwi

Interview with Federica Ferrari, CEO of Agro del Kiwi

By germana

Interview with Federica Ferrari, CEO of Agro del Kiwi, the startup that deals with the sale of products related to kiwi. 

Italy is the world’s largest producer of kiwi, with crops concentrated mainly in Lazio, Emilia-Romagna, Puglia, Campania and Veneto. It is an exotic fruit rich in vitamin C (even more than lemon and orange), with excellent antioxidant and diuretic properties and low in calories. With just 48 calories per 100 g, in fact, it is also a formidable ally for those on a diet. The kiwi is also widely used in the kitchen, especially to prepare tasty jams, fruit salads, fruit cake, but also for salty recipes based on meat or fish. And that’s why today I’m going to talk about the startup L’Agro del kiwi!

What’s l’Agro del kiwi

L’Agro del kiwi is a startup that deals with the sale of several lines of vinegars, icings and jams made exclusively from Hawyard kiwi. As in the best traditions, kiwi vinegar, produced by the company, undergoes a process of aging in glass barrels and oak barrels for a minimum of 2 up to 5 years, with only 0.02% of ethyl alcohol. These are gluten free products, free of sulphites and allergens.

All the recipes based on kiwi have excellent nutritional values and are rich in beneficial properties for health, while maintaining a low calorie intake. In addition, no element will be added but only genuine and natural ingredients, without any preservatives.

To find out more about the startup, we interviewed Federica Ferrari, CEO of L’Agro del Kiwi.

Hi Federica, it is a pleasure to meet you and thank you for your time. Tell us something more about L’Agro del Kiwi.

How and when was the idea born?

The company L’Agro del Kiwi is an innovative start-up created to enhance a family business of long tradition, the cultivation of kiwi, in the territory of Latina. Registered with the CCIIA of Latina in 2017, L’Agro del Kiwi is an eco-friendly,  socially responsible organization that wants to be a spokesperson for values related to the agro-industry sector and to the territory of Agropontino. An example of a circular economy applied to the primary sector that involves the entire supply chain, based on two fundamental pillars: sustainability and innovation. All respecting the traditions and culture of the territory, that opens up to the opportunities that technology offers as an enabler of development and growth. Tech sector that is made up to stimulate a network approach with the aim to achieving common and shared goals. 

How did you launch your company?  

“L’Agro del KIWI srl” has started research and development for the characterization of vinegars, glazes and jams of kiwi vinegar in polyphenolic content, and, subsequently, the optimization of fermentation and acetification process from kiwi fruit. In the current phase, it is taking care of the continuous development of innovative products based on kiwi and kiwi vinegar, deriving exclusively from the kiwi itself,  aiming at the creation of a range of products suitable for national and international marketing.

The idea of the company is supported by an intellectual property obtained in 2014, which stems from the desire to diversify the products derived from kiwi, of which the Pontine lands have become home to world election. All this to create complementary and seasonally adjusted products (thus ensuring business continuity) compared to the traditional use of the fruit that is concentrated in a few months a year. The innovative products derived from kiwi on which the company is focusing today, to present them at a National and International level, are:

– Kiwi vinegar is a product intended for condiments, a product derived from the processing of excellent raw material, rich in polyphenols aged in oak barrels.

-Sweet and sour sauce of kiwi vinegar: a smooth icing on the palate and pleasant sweet-sour with cooking at low temperatures and without thickeners excellent on sushi.

-Extra kiwi vinegar jam: a jam with a good taste; a feeling of freshness and flavor. It lends itself on every type of product, in particular, on soft cheeses, on sweet chocolate cheesecake, fruit mousse, on Arabic bread.Its characteristic is that a preparation based on kiwi vinegar , different from the actual jams on the commerce realized with the single fruit.  

-Pontine chocolate, chocolate kiwi vinegar praline 70%  dark, already winner of a regional award such as that of the FOOD INNOVATION HUB , CARRIED OUT BY AGROCAMERA AND LAZIO INNOVA.

The social team is composed by Federica Ferrari, director to 51% and Enrico Ferrari associate to 49%

In your store you can find many products. Tell us about what you are most “attached” and of course explain why

The Kiwi Vinegar n. 5 is the result of the wise combination of tradition and innovation at the base of the company philosophy, which has allowed to transform a typical fruit of the territory of L’Agropontino into a innovative food-product of great versatility and nutritional value and Bio: the first Kiwi Vinegar derived from 100% kiwi fruit. Produced in Italy with a patented process that respects the quality of the raw material and the environment, a “sustainable” process. Produced in Lazio by the farm Beyond the Kiwi and marketed by the company L’Agro del Kiwi, both owned by the Ferrari family, Kiwi Vinegar is an innovative food ingredient in modern catering, obtained from the natural fermentation of Kiwi Hayward fruits grown on the farm or from locally selected farms. Not a “simple seasoning” but a “specialty”, a highly versatile and precious ingredient that stimulates the creativity of chefs for the preparation of gourmet recipes creating a kind of culinary alchemy in balancing and enhancing the flavors of a dish. Not only condiments and sauces but real ingredients, flavor enhancers, to be used in every course, from appetizer to dessert, but also in the most trendy non-alcoholic cocktails and not for a unique and recognizable taste, particularly appreciated by young and healthy customers.

A trivial question, but we are very curious: why just the Kiwi? 

Because we have always cultivated Kiwi, because my father was tired of suffering the devaluation of the fruits of his field , by traders simply because they have a form that the fresh market rejected because of the canons established by the large distribution. After several studies starting from our field we understood that kiwi is definitely one of the most clearly ready fruits to have a fermentation not only to a vinegar that has the characteristics of acidity , of strength of vinegar but also a particular aromatic part , and because lately in addition to wine vinegar,  apple vinegar,  which was clearly going towards characteristics of a certain type, the kiwi could stand from the point of view of organoleptic quality of traceability and also of Italian potential in a remarkable way. Even more have been able to develop a correct chain , sustainable, beautiful , autochthonous that could go up to simulating what strangely compared to the other vinegars, is simulated only on the wine, then even on the game of selected native microorganisms , and so on, made us make a nice path.

All this was also possible thanks to agreements with research bodies that since 2016 have studied Percorso, characterizing our vinegars. Path that has certainly brought the positive value is to have nutritional molecules not only antioxidants but from the aromatic point of view that give the product a beautiful communication potential from the point of view of a product let’s call it seasoned,  matured , aged up to barricade but above all to understand with time to have at hand a sort of ready material that can have a correct association between the agro and the functional to be proposed in foods and a line of particular products, peculiar,. Beautiful and from the point of view of a local food and wine but a functionality aimed at the concept of nutraceuticals. 

The production of innovative products represents a valid alternative to enhance the waste fruits, with positive economic repercussions on the entire production chain. Agro del Kiwi has patented a fermentation and acetification process, thanks to which it is obtained a kiwi vinegar, young and aged, which can also be used as an ingredient in other kiwi products: icings and jams of kiwi vinegar with high nutritional function for the content of bioactive compounds; dry biscuits, both in the salty and sweet version; chocolate pralines stuffed with kiwi vinegar. To these will be added a line of protein products based on chocolate and kiwi, which will be the subject of prototyping in the coming months.

What are your plans for the future?

Active products will be designed and manufactured both from a nutraceutical point of view based on kiwi, with particular regard to processed products such as pasta, bakery products (energy bars with an antioxidant character)jams, ice cream/sorbets or references that will constitute the line of food products called “Nutra-Kiwi 2FR”. These fortified food products and these nutraceutical references can be formulated as possible registered food supplements, also for sports, Will be taken into account n. 3 references such as vinaigrette, functional bar and dried kiwi for a clinical trial , to do this we should invest so much together with research bodies. But I think we’re gonna make it.

Curiosity: can you tell us something about the name of your company?

Of the entire name chosen I want to make you dwell on L’Agro . The strength and the beauty , in my opinion lies precisely in the L and in the apostrophe, because it was chosen to enhance not only the sweet and sour taste of the kiwi but above all to represent with the “L” and apostrophe our territory that note of L’agro Pontino so written and reported on all channels of research . Agro Pontino is an Italian historical-geographical region, part of Lazio (between the Agro Romano and southern Lazio) that includes the Pontine Plain  .



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