Press Release. Internationalisation, innovation and marketing: key factors in the recovery of the Made in Italy agroindustrial sector

Press releases   24 September 2013

Challenges and opportunities for Italian agricultural and food companies at the centre of the 8th Local Meeting of the Leonardo Committee in Catania. Luisa Todini: “Protecting Made in Italy means recreating employment, as counterfeit and Italian-sounding products take €60 billion and 300,000 jobs away from the food industry every year.”

 

Catania, 23 September 2013 – Concentrating on exports, especially to emerging markets where per capita wealth and demand for high-quality consumer goods are on the increase; adopting a systematic, supply-chain approach in international markets; investing in technological innovation and leveraging local competitive edge, thus turning it into industrial assets.

 These are the key factors in revitalising the Italian agricultural and food industry, according to the findings of the meeting entitled Technology, innovation and marketing: challenges for a new agroindustry, which was organised by the Leonardo Committee in collaboration with A.A.T. Oranfresh and held at the Catania company’s headquarters and the Science and Technology Park of Sicily.

This event is one of the local meetings the Committee periodically organises in collaboration with associated companies, aimed at encouraging dialogue between local companies and local and national government institutions.

The meeting, which was presided over by the Chair of the Leonardo Committee, Luisa Todini, and hosted by Salvatore Torrisi, Chairman and CEO of A.A.T. SpA, was attended by local and national representatives from the worlds of government and business, including the Mayor of Catania, Enzo Bianco, the Director General of Internationalisation from the Ministry of Economic Development, Pietro Celi, the President of Confindustria Catania, Domenico Bonaccorsi di Reburdone, the Undersecretary at the Ministry of Agricultural Policies, Giuseppe Castiglione, and the Vice-President of Confindustria, Ivan Lo Bello. A round table followed, including participation by Sicilian politicians and academics, while the concluding remarks were made by the President of Confindustria Sicily, Antonello Montante, and the President of the Sicily Region, Rosario Crocetta. At the end of the meeting a tour of the Science and Technology Park of Sicily took place. This consortium’s mission is to increase local competitiveness through research activities, innovation, technology transfer and dissemination of a culture of quality and specialised training.

“We wanted to devote this meeting to the agricultural and food sector as it’s one of the pillars of our manufacturing industry, second only to mechanical engineering, and a Made in Italy trailblazer, with exports totalling €32 billion in 2012,” said the Chair of the Leonardo Committee, Luisa Todini. “Sicilian companies make up an important voice within the sector, and have shown they’re aware of the importance of launching themselves into international markets. The Sicily Region’s total exports are up 21.5% on 2011, and in the first six months of 2013 the agricultural and food sector registered export growth of 7%, according to ICE data. This Region has a wealth of high-quality products: 28 of Italy’s 252 Protected Geographical Indication (IGP) and Protected Denomination (DOP) products come from Sicily, which represents a great potential for local industry,” she added. “Italy, and especially Sicily, are natural supply-chain areas. Oranfresh is a case in point. The company was born out of an entrepreneurial intuition to turn a local treasure – the most famous blood oranges in the world – into an industrial asset, by aiming for high quality and innovation.” 

There are new markets – in South-East Asia and the Middle East, as well as the traditional BRICS countries – where a new awareness of sustainable development and the spread of new consumer habits are creating new spaces for Made in Italy companies, especially those operating in the agricultural and food sector. “This is an opportunity that Italian companies should not fail to grasp,” emphasises Luisa Todini, “by adopting a systematic supply-chain approach. For examply, by trying out new forms of partnership among local firms, in order to strengthen them and extend their reach.”

Technological innovation has also proved to be a factor that gives agricultural and food companies significant competitive edge. “Innovative technologies applied to fruit and vegetable growing can help create higher added value for the sector, and Oranfresh is a case in point,” says Salvatore Torrisi, Chairman and CEO of A.A.T. SpA. “To sum up, the company’s mission is to improve all fruit and vegetable production by applying innovative processes and technologies to the fresh produce. Via its current international marketing campaign, Oranfresh hopes to turn from a niche market into a mass market.”

 

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