The progress of subsistence agriculture is thanks to neuroscience


“To predict the success of a product, it is increasingly essential to start from the emotional reactions it arouses in the consumer”. States Teresa Cercos Fortea, General Manager of Quality, Environment and Innovation of Importaco, a Valencia-based group founded in 1940 that has two main sectors such as dried fruits and natural drinks. The concept was expressed during the two days of the World food innovate Summit, a congress dedicated to food innovations which took place on June 14 and 15 in Milan.
“Today – online under Cercós Fortea – every food company finds itself in a highly competitive context: it must gain the trust of a consumer who is increasingly informed and aware of what he is buying. To operate in this situation, we believe it is crucial to change the pattern from the past, starting substantially at the end: the consumer himself. Either by acting on the emotions and reactions of purchasing managers”.
In this context, neuroscience comes into play. Importaco, a group of which the Italian Besana has been a member since 2020, has invested 6 million euros in innovation: part of it has gone to investigations in the field of neuroscience in two major branches of research:
the relationship between nut consumption and improved mental health in people; the interaction of the consumer with the natural product, to guarantee the highest standards of quality and food safety. “The processes in which Importaco applies neuroscience are aimed at improving food safety and product quality – the manager points out -. The application of this process focuses on raw materials and natural products, with the aim of improving the sensory experience, without compromising the freedom of product choice”.
This intense research activity has already produced the first results. Indeed, Importaco recently launched an innovative range of nuts enriched with natural probiotics from dried fruits. Indeed, the Spaniard carried out an analysis of the native microbiota (that is to say all the microorganisms that live in the digestive system of humans and other animals) and identified three bacteria probiotics of the genera Lactobacillus and Pediococuss present in dried fruits.
“These advances are part of the new deal that our group wanted to dare in research and food safety -explains Cercós Fortea-. In addition, they are fundamental to identify innovative solutions, with a view to continuous improvement of public and individual health”.
Meanwhile, Importaco continues to grow. The company achieved a turnover of 721.7 million euros in 2021, i.e. 9% more than in 2020, a result which shows the increase in the group’s activity and the growing presence on the European markets, which occurred following the acquisition of Besana in 2020.
Last year, Importaco realized that they exceeded 19 million euros, destined for the main investments in the production centers: 60% of the resources went to quality, efficiency and specialization projects, 40% business development, digital transformation, workplace well-being and sustainability. .
In terms of sustainability, the Iberian company has certified its dried fruit factory according to the Aenor Zero Waste standard and has reduced industrial waste in this sector by 20%: the objective is to certify all the group’s production centers to this standard by 2025. .
Not solo. 90% of the electricity consumed is now of renewable origin: this has made it possible to avoid the emission of 15,612 tonnes of CO2: thanks to energy efficiency plans, consumption has been reduced by 12%.


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