“Innovating to provide solutions, without forgetting the hundred-year history behind us (1924 – 2024), but always looking forward. “We at UNITEC never consider ourselves to have reached a final goal: each time is a stage from which we start again to reach the next objective,” explains Angelo Benedetti, President and CEO of the company born in 1993 from the merger of Tomorrow New Technology (TNT) and Dalle Vacche di Massa Lombarda, active since 1924.
“Today, there are about 120 people working in the Research & Development sector, at a dedicated location that was recently established across from our Lugo (Ravenna) headquarters. This is because our clients always have new needs, new goals, and we want to be there for them, providing them with concrete and timely answers. And only through research and innovation can the right solutions be found.”
2023 ends positively for Unitec. Over 200 million euros in turnover, which represents a result even superior to forecasts; 800 employees, of which 600 are in Italy and 200 in the rest of the world. “But this does not mean – Benedetti continues – that it was an easy year. We have had peaks of demand and then periods of relative stillness. This requires a strong ability to adapt in our organization and in the management of personnel, increasingly difficult to find both in our sector and in the field.”
The lack of specialized labor has led Unitec to innovate and propose increasingly precise and comprehensive methods of fruit classification. “Consider the blueberry: it is now a crop that can be managed automatically, from harvesting to packaging, and the goal that our classification systems pursue is precisely to bring organoleptically quality products to consumers’ tables consistently over time, with particular attention to their shelf life and logistics needs – emphasizes Benedetti – The hemorrhage of fruit consumption is largely caused by years of less than edifying choices, with products of poor taste quality, which have eroded consumer trust. Now we have to regain this trust, we have to bring products to the table that can win and maintain consumer trust, thanks to their quality consistent with the promises made.”
For 2024, Unitec’s goals do not change: to reach and satisfy its customers anywhere in the world. “Each year is different from the other. Adverse weather events are enough, and the momentum of a productive area mitigates in favor of another. Certainly in 2024 we aim to strengthen ourselves even more in Europe, with Spain, France, and Italy first and foremost. From blueberries to watermelons – today we can work with over 50 types – there is no fruit that Unitec cannot classify and, in this perspective, I can affirm that we have important news on the technology front, including some related to apple processing. One must never stand still, one must always evolve, even in those segments where a high competitive level has already been achieved.”
And Benedetti continues: “In various parts of the world, there are GDO chains that ask producers if they classify their fruit, for example cherries, with Unitec solutions: this aspect becomes a discriminating factor precisely because the high quality standard of our solutions is recognized. But, I repeat, we do not feel absolutely arrived: robotics still allows ample room for improvement, and this for every different type of fruit. That’s why we are investing so much in research: to always be one step ahead.”
“Choosing Unitec technologies represents, for our customers, an investment that leads to reducing their production costs, guaranteeing the consistent quality of the fruit that comes out of their factories with greater efficiency in processing processes,” Benedetti specifies.
2024 will therefore be an important year for Unitec: there will be various events to celebrate the centenary of its history, with the presentation of important news and the strengthening of the Research & Development sector will continue.
“We are a global company – concludes the president – able to respond to a wide range of requests and needs. Faced with a customer’s need, we never back down. It’s been 100 years that we accept challenges and we want to continue to do so for the next 100 years thanks to innovation.””
*This article is excerpted from freshplaza.com website, published December 15th 2023