Centro Agroalimentare Roma unveils ambitious plans

An extension project of 62.5ha is underway at Europe's third-largest wholesale market
Mon 09/01/2023 by By Pierre Escodo
Aerial view of 140,000 m2 Roma Food Market
Italmercati chairman & Roma Food Market CEO Fabio Massimo

The Rome Wholesale Market or C.A.R. (Centro Agroalimentare Roma), with its 140 hectares of surface area and more than 1 million tons of fresh and ultra-fresh products marketed each year, is the first Agribusiness Hub in Italy and one of the leading ones in Europa. Will soon become the third largest in Europe by size, after the Paris and Madrid wholesale markets. An expansion project is now underway that, in its first phase, will see an extension of the current structure by an additional 62.5 hectares, which will be dedicated to new facilities and more than 200,000 square metres of logistics platforms that are more sustainable and better integrated with the surrounding area.

More impact and more sustainable

In addition to improving current activities and services, the new hub will also have a significant economic, social and environmental impact, as C.A.R. aspires to define a new model of agribusiness distribution that is sustainable and with minimal environmental impact. The reduction of environmental impact will be pursued through the introduction of new and innovative solutions in different areas, starting from the product and waste cycle, to the management of the water system, to the use of renewable energy sources, up to the presence of digital processes designed to monitor the sustainability of the facility.

Inflation affects re-exports

The Rome Wholesale Market is a terminal market that focuses mainly on the distribution of fresh and very fresh produce in the city of Rome. In recents years it has been tending to take the export route, which currently, however, is not yet the market’s core businness. Anyway, the export activities of companies operating within the Centro Agroalimentare Roma have inevitably suffered the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, which, in several cases, nipped in the bud any plans to internationalise companies. In this last period, export activities are slowly restarting but with still very low market shares. The current macroeconomic situation and the high increase in energy costs certainly do not help the cause.

“Frutta che Frutta” against food waste

CAR is one of the main logistics hubs for the wholesale of fresh and ultra-fresh food products, confronting daily issues such as waste reduction and the promotion of product reuse and recycling. In 2018, the “Frutta che Frutta” Project was launched with the aim of reducing food waste as much as possible and ensuring healthy diets for even the most needy people. Thanks to the help of third sector non-profit organisations, unsold products are recovered every day inside the Rome Wholesale Market, which, through a processing laboratory located inside the market, are transformed into finished products such as canned goods, sauces, jams, etc. and destined for solidarity channels, thanks to the support of more than 160 associations. In this way, in addition to significantly reducing food waste, the shelf-life of the products is also increased. We estimate that this initiative has prevented about 8,000 bins of organic waste to date.

In addition, C.A.R.’s goal is also to become a hub for the distribution of edible but no longer saleable foods that are recovered daily from the stores and markets in the city of Rome, to be allocated to people in proverty who cannot afford healthy and adequate food.

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