President Carlo Ferro tells us how close cooperation between operators in the industry is essential for the development of the sector. And how joint initiatives are already bringing results in key markets.
During more than a year of pandemic, Food & Beverage has shown remarkable resilience. It has been able to respond to the peaks in demand associated with lockdowns and has continued to innovate to meet emerging consumer demands. Today, however, as the “normalisation” of sales figures in the large-scale retail trade confirms, the momentum of the emergency is wearing off.
Trade fairs and supply chains work together
So what is the key to continued growth? As for many other Made in Italy excellences, it can only be more and more internationalisation. This is a commitment that cannot rely solely on the prestige of Made in Italy, but must bring together the operators in the supply chain, institutions and trade fairs as instruments of industrial policy. This is why TUTTOFOOD, which has had internationalisation and innovation in its DNA since the very first edition, has further strengthened its already close collaboration with ICE-ITA Agenzia in recent months, also by deploying new solutions that exploit the potential of digital transformation.
To discuss this, the editorial staff of the TUTTOFOOD web magazine met with Carlo Ferro, President of ICE. “Let me say in advance that the system has moved - began Ferro - . And it did so quickly, through the Pact for Export, to give the maximum support to our companies, to the agri-food industry and to the entire industrial and artisan fabric of the country that looks to foreign markets".
Only in a truly international dimension can the sector find not only space for quantitative growth, but also a context that nurtures innovation, comparing itself with the best experiences from all over the world, and which must be developed by making use of new technologies. An approach that sees the hybrid evolution of TUTTOFOOD in line with ICE's philosophy. Ferro continues: “The Pact for Export includes our support for the trade fair system, both for physical and digital or 'phygital' events. Firstly, through Fiera Smart 365, a concept that allows events, including missions and B2B meetings, to be held 100% digitally or in a hybrid format. Many primary events have already been possible thanks to this tool. Fiera Smart 365 helps the trade fair system to broaden its appeal, reaching a very large number of buyers and continuing the relationship between the operators who have met at the fair 365 days a year".
A path that is already bringing results
In recent months ICE’s continuous support for the event, the President emphasises, has translated into timely actions along the way to the trade fair in progress, at fieramilano next 22 to 26 October: “With TUTTOFOOD ICE has built a programme of digital events to expand contacts towards the most interesting foreign markets, meeting the favour of the entire agri-food chain. The first meeting, dedicated to the United States, took place in May, while another dedicated to Canada was held in early June. The events are enriched by the organisation of online B2B meetings, offering new business perspectives and allowing foreign counterparts to be approached more directly".
While ICE and TUTTOFOOD together enhance business opportunities, they also help operators focus on emerging trends that can support their development. From natural to digital, from sustainability to the concept of "from the field to the table", today's consumer is increasingly aware and Italy, with its agri-food tradition, has many cards to play. “Together with the focus on health and wellbeing, sustainability is a value to which the younger generations, the millennials, are paying a lot of attention today - concludes Carlo Ferro - . Italian agri-foodstuffs, and organic food in particular, can play an important role thanks to companies that, in addition to being excellent in terms of raw materials, are pioneers in the field of agricultural techniques and machinery, and in this sense enjoy a fundamental competitive advantage. We will see even more of this in the coming years, thanks to the resources earmarked by the PNRR for ecological transition, with a view to environmental commitment that will reward companies that have already invested in this direction and will continue to do so. This is a unique opportunity to build the cross-cutting digital and ecological transition-oriented competences required as critical success factors, also in global markets”.
In order to take full advantage of this opportunity, it will increasingly need the support of structured trade fairs - in-person, hybrid or digital - that are part of a solid trade fair organisation, capable of becoming industrial policy instruments at the service of companies and the country system.