Good for You, Good for the Planet: our North Pole
Interview with Claudio Colzani - Chief Executive Officer
2017 saw a solid upturn in the italian and european economies. In the United States, however, there was a downturn in the industrial food sector, due mainly to the fact that consumers’ tastes are shifting towards fresher and more natural products. what were the implications for Barilla?
For Barilla it was a year of solid results, with growth of 3% in volumes and turnover. Growth was reported in all the Group's geographical areas, with Italy showing a particularly marked improvement in performance. Our growth in Europe continued.
Despite the negative trends for the industry as a whole, Barilla stepped up its presence on the American market and launched a major drive for growth in Asia, Africa and Australia.
In terms of our product categories, sauces maintained their extremely strong performance, prompting us to make investments in the Rubbiano plant (Parma), to ensure adequate production capacity. Bakery products achieved excellent results in Italy and France, while we are still working on stepping up the presence of the Wasa brand in the Nordic countries. And lastly, pasta increased its share of our business, mainly on the strength of new premium products developed around the concept of wellbeing.
In terms of your products, what is driving Barilla's growth?
Growth in recent years has been driven by products with a more targeted nutritional profile, such as gluten- free, wholegrain and no-added-sugar products. That is why we are redesigning our portfolio. In particular, we are working on the gastronomic and nutritional aspects of the pasta category, raising the worldwide profile of our pesto and establishing Wasa as a global brand.
So what needs to be improved in order to keep growing?
Our hallmark has always been the high quality of our products in terms of how tasty, healthy and sustainable they are. Our biggest challenge now is to keep meeting the increasingly specific needs of people, by means of significant, distinctive benefits. We want to invest and communicate even more effectively the values of gastronomy, wellbeing, and a clean and sustainable way of doing business.
Secondly, we want to step up our commercial presence on new emerging channels (e.g. e-commerce and clubs) and be a leader and innovator in our categories.
The extremely high quality of our products, in terms of taste, health and sustainability, has always been our distinctive feature.
Our hallmark has always been the high quality of our products in terms of how tasty, healthy and sustainable they are.
What differentiates you on the market?
In order to achieve first-class performance, we believe we need to let product quality guide us in everything we do. What's more, we never lose sight of our North Pole: our Mission Good for You, Good for the Planet. This is the only direction we follow, to develop our business responsibly across all our markets.
And lastly, the inclusion of diversity is still a vital resource for enriching our way of doing business and ensuring a better competitiveness.
Good for You, Good for the Planet: is this a Sustainability project or the spirit of a new strategy?
As I have already mentioned, it is our North Pole. In other words, a set of values and principles that enable us to grow and promote sustainable development. It is Barilla's response to a complex global scenario, whose challenges for the world of food and nutrition are clearly highlighted by our Foundation.
But it is also the only way in which we want to forge relations with all our stakeholders along every supply chain in which we are involved.
It is our responsibility to raise the profile of this identity through our brands and express its values to everyone.