Rodolfo Foglietti, CEO of Piubio
Our chain is an independent organic chain operating in Rome with 4 specialised sales outlets and a distribution network serving various parts of Italy. From our perspective, in the year of the pandemic we noticed a certain but diverse contraction: the average receipt remained more or less the same, while the number of visitors fell. This suggests that those with the capacity to spend continue to shop in specialised shops, while those who have been financially affected by the emergency have turned to more price-based choices.
At the commodity level, we have seen growth especially in flour, eggs and meat, and we have seen a shift from fresh to packaged, but high-quality bread. Frozen food is also on the rise, with some well-known organic names coming on board. Wine is also good, especially wines without sulphites or particular grape varieties are sought.
In general, customers are more attentive to the healthiness, traceability, ingredients and origin of raw materials. The focus on the local area is one of the reasons why customers choose a local independent chain like ours. For the post-pandemic period, we believe that consumption will return to a certain normality, but certainly channels such as e-commerce are also growing. We made a choice that suited our size, opting for regular customers to send the shopping list to a dedicated Whatsapp number or email address, with delivery within 4 hours in Rome.
With our distribution activity we serve some bars that are now, of course, closed for the lockdown, but which in the medium term shows an interesting tendency of the out-of-home sector to enhance the value of organic food as an element of distinction from competitors, especially in the beverage sector.