A CONVERSATION WITH OUR CEO, VITTORIO DORIA LAMBA30/12/2021
A conversation with our CEO, Vittorio Doria Lamba
It was back in 1995 when Alifood first started exporting top-quality Italian food to Japan. More than 25 years ago, more than a quarter of a century. It sounds like a lifetime ago yet Alifood is still growing stronger, sharing the pleasure of Italian food excellences with numerous countries worldwide: from India to Russia, Japan, Singapore, Korea, Chile, Vietnam…the list is endless. What is the secret to this longevity?
“The credit to this success belongs to the whole Alifood team. Getting the right people on board, giving them the time to know one another and to learn how to cooperate is what I am most proud of. They are all incredible professionals, besides being lovely human beings. Our company would not be the same without them”.
Surely a high performing team makes a significant difference for any company, but can this be the only key to success?
“It is a great asset, of course – he smiles – yet a company cannot thrive for almost 25 years without a vision. Many things have changed in Alifood over time; the only thing that somewhat stayed the same is our business model: we never wanted to be producers or traders, we wanted to become solution providers, offering top-of-the-range services besides Italian food excellences. It was a risky bet back in the 90s, when top-quality Italian food was not as popular worldwide as it is now. We could have easily concentrated all our efforts into the products we offer; we decided to do something different, to approach the market with more flexibility”.
Flexibility is one of the trending topics this year, with the COVID-19 pandemic that does not seem to be willing to leave us yet. How is Alifood facing it?
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been a shock for all of us, both in terms of business and personal life. We all had to quickly come to terms with our fragility, we had to rapidly reassess our priorities. I guess the same applies to our market, if you approach it from a consumer’s standpoint. Now people are very conscious about the food they purchase, they want it to be healthy, sustainable and as green as possible. Our luck lies in the fact that Italian food has always been healthy; our advantage is represented by the choice we made many years ago of sourcing the products from small, local producers. They can guarantee the quality the consumer is after; we provide them with an opportunity to internationalize their respective businesses without any risks. Also in this case, the difference is made by a good a team effort because – you see – the whole point in our sector is not about penetrating a new foreign market, it is all about remaining there as long as possible”.
How do you manage to do that?
“At first we listen. Each market speaks a different language and want to listen only what they are expecting to learn from you. There are different needs, different timings, there is a different taste as well. Listening is the wisest thing we can do and, at the same time, it is the highest form of respect we can show to our clients. We listen and then we adapt, we get ideas, we plan and we make projects without giving up our roots and ethics. We always try to meet our clients’ requests, just like one would normally do in a relationship that works, in order to let their business grow successfully”. (he smiles again)
Well, thank you Vittorio.
“It’s my pleasure”