Copyright Accademia dei Georgofili
The Italian food production is highly differentiated compared to that of other countries with extensive agriculture characterized by lower biodiversity. Many food products are well introduced into the market assuring a sufficient income to the farmers. Others, especially when locally produced, are unknown to the consumers and sometime the market price does not cover the cost of production. Another drawback of some agricultural products as fruits or raw food is due to the high seasonality, the low shelf life or other negative characters limiting the period of the marketing. Although their nutraceutical or organoleptic features, higher than the average, some fruits of Italian autochthonous cultivars are not diffused by the great distribution. The Italian cocoa industry uses only few local agricultural products as for instance the PGI Piedmont almond. There are tough many fruits or fruit products that could be included into innovative cocoa products for the market. In Tuscany the Toscolata© project financed by Regione Toscana produced a new set of cocoa bars containing extra virgin olive oil or dry local apple fruit with positive organoleptic and nutraceutical attributes. There are many Italian traditional agricultural products that might be coupled with cocoa into innovative products increasing the economic revenues of the farmers, supporting the local communities and increasing the Italian artisanal brands on the international market.