At a time when the food production industry is going from strength to strength in Italy (it accounted for 11.3% of the country’s GDP in 2016, second only to the steel industry), it is now time for operators to consolidate this positive trend by applying the principles of innovation on products and processes. Deloitte, one of the most prestigious corporate consultancy firms in the world, has dedicated a book entitled Il Settore Alimentare: l’Innovazione nei Paradigmi (‘The Food Industry: Innovating Models’) to the exemplary cases driving such innovation.
The innovation that Deloitte proposes is not just technology or product based; it has more ambitious goals, and aims to change the very rules that govern the industry. The focus is now on consumers and the need to keep them informed. It is therefore necessary for industry operators to cooperate in order to achieve a shared aim. Last but not least, there is a need to develop products and make them available on modern distribution channels where a consumer that is increasingly ‘emotional’ when making purchasing decisions can reach them.
Deloitte has included Alifood, a leading food trading company specialising in high quality Italian products, among the 11 case histories described in the book, companies that innovate the Italian food production industry. This Genoa-based company is joined by Amadori, Casillo Group, Eataly, Illycaffè, Inalpi, Matrunita Mediterranea, Mutti, Noberasco, Oropan and Parmareggio. Alifood carries out a number of different roles within the food supply chain: it chooses products and producers, it monitors all logistical phases, it identifies the documents and certificates required by each individual country and manages the after-sales needs of clients, which includes the best way to use their products. The company’s most innovative field of expertise, as described in the book, is undoubtedly product preservation, which avoids the problem of not being able to export fresh specialities. Indeed, Alifood has carried out constant research and development in conjunction with food production companies in order to bring the technology to a level whereby preserved products, once returned to their original state, are totally identical to their fresh versions.
This is the second time Alifood has been mentioned in Deloitte publications that describe the jewels in the Italian food industry’s crown, the first time having been in Why Liguria: Il Bello e il Buono: L’Arte di Essere Imprenditori (‘Why Liguria: The Great and the Good: The Art of Being Entrepreneurs’).