Besana: experts in hazelnut production

Thursday 08 of December, 2022

At Importaco we want to contribute to social wellness by providing products with a high nutritional profile which improve health and are environmentally friendly. Precisely for this reason, it is essential for us to have partners who share this perspective, as is the case of Besana, an Italian company that joined the Importaco Group in 2020.

Besana is a family business. It has more than 100 years of history and a wide range of natural products such as all tree nuts, among which cashew nuts and almonds, dried fruits, and seeds, although its main crop is hazelnuts. In fact, its high level of specialisation in this product has allowed us to consolidate our international presence by increasing our experience and know-how to meet the growing demand for nuts experienced in recent years, especially in the European Union.

Ever since we started this merger process, we have strengthened our competitiveness in the nut and dried fruit markets in Spain, Germany, Poland, the UK, Belgium, and the Scandinavian countries.

Main hazelnut growing regions

Our main hazelnut growing regions are found in Italy where the Importaco Group, through Besana, has two production plants. The largest one, with a surface area of 30,000 m2, is in San Gennaro Vesuviano, has a production capacity of 30,000 tonnes per year and is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for shelling and sorting of hazelnuts. The other major production area is in Ogliastro, where we produce 3,000 tonnes of chocolate-enrobed hazelnuts per year thanks to our factory which specialises in the coating process.

In total, we have 1,000 hectares of hazelnut cultivation from suppliers located not only in Italy, but also in other geographical areas such as Greece, Kazakhstan, Croatia, Ukraine, Poland, and North Macedonia, which also have the most favourable climatic and soil conditions for the cultivation of this nut.

Commitment to sustainability at every stage of the chain

Both Importaco and Besana share the belief that it is essential to take care of even the tiniest detail in the value chain because we know that we can only offer the quality that characterises us by nurturing the crop from the very beginning. Growers play a key role in this process, which is why we work with a group of 15 growers who grow our hazelnuts on the base of our model of good agricultural practices. Specialised teams support them with expertise and know-how to ensure that the hazelnuts are grown in accordance with the environmental and traceability standards that we set ourselves at Importaco.

Our commitment is based on contributing to the sustainable development of the territories we are present in and working to ensure that our activity has a positive impact and generates new opportunities. This is something we are very aware of during the production of all our nuts, including hazelnut production, where we reinforce this commitment through the promotion of biodiversity in hazelnut fields, and namely the following actions:

  • Rational use of water through scheduled irrigation systems based on technical data.
  • Use of cut wood to increase soil fertility in a natural way.
  • Rely on cover crops to improve soil health, increase yields, and provide feed for livestock.
  • Use of renewable energy.
  • Non-use of plant protection products (pesticides).

Motivated by excellence, we take care of all details at every stage of hazelnut production, from the field to its commercialisation, carrying out a very careful and highly specialised process, employing the most qualified staff and using cutting-edge technology to meet our quality requirements.

avellanas importaco

Our main hazelnut varieties

We know that consumption trends vary, as do the needs of the market and the nut industry. That is why we produce seven different varieties of hazelnuts: Tonda Gentile Romana, Tonda di Giffoni, Mortarella, Tonda Gentile Trilobata, Francescana, Giresun and Levantine.

This extensive catalogue allows us to offer hazelnuts that meet the main needs of the international demand and to process them in different formats: whole natural, whole roasted, blanched, chopped, flour, roasted, pasteurised, chocolate-coated, etc.

Both Besana and Importaco are driven by the desire to improve and that is why we are constantly studying the sector and validating each of the hazelnut varieties and formats in order to enhance their added value through our R+D+I team and maintain our position as production leaders in Europe.