Ro­vagnati “From the fam­ily to fam­i­lies”

In a rare in­ter­view, Clau­dia Li­monta, wife of the founder and Pres­i­dent of the Ro­vagnati Group, pro­vided an in­sight into how the com­pany has grown, in­spired by its val­ues and in­tu­ition – and how it is be­com­ing in­creas­ingly in­ter­na­tional.

All About Italy (USA) - - All About Italy | Made In Rovagnati - Paolo Del Panta

The Ro­vagnati story be­gan in the 1940s and 1950s with Paolo Ro­vagnati, who turned tra­di­tion into an icon. What are the val­ues that the com­pany has clung to over time? Paolo Ro­vagnati has al­ways of­fered con­sumers a gen­uine prod­uct, with the most au­then­tic Ital­ian tra­di­tion at its heart. His true in­tu­ition, which we still keep to today, has been to sup­port in­dus­trial crafts­man­ship. We man­aged to over­come var­i­ous eco­nomic and me­dia crises by fo­cus­ing on the two el­e­ments which have char­ac­ter­ized our his­tory of the last 25 years, and which are part of the com­pany DNA: qual­ity and in­no­va­tion, as well as great at­ten­tion to con­sumers and their needs.

“I made them, and I signed them off” is the trade­mark claim. Does this syn­the­size the sense of re­spon­si­bil­ity passed down by Mr. Paolo?

The sig­na­ture is a great in­ven­tion of Paolo’s, then copied by other en­trepreneurs, not just Ital­ians, which has given new im­pe­tus to branded prod­ucts. Un­til then the brand - which, as in many cases, con­tained the very name of the fam­ily - was the only im­print of the en­tre­pre­neur. The sig­na­ture de­signed by Paolo is a trade­mark en­hance­ment, the qual­ity as­sur­ance of that prod­uct, al­most a con­tract with con­sumers. A sig­na­ture closes the gap be­tween the com­pany, which is usu­ally per­ceived as be­ing dis­tant, and the con­sumer. It is the seal of a covenant be­tween those who sell and buy. It comes from our gas­tro­nomic and sauce-mak­ing her­itage, the cra­dle of our com­pany.

Il Gran Bis­cotto needs no in­tro­duc­tion: the name says it all and the brand is un­mis­tak­able. How did your hus­band think up the con­cept?

He was en­thu­si­as­tic, he knew he had a rev­o­lu­tion­ary idea, which would give a boost to his prod­uct, Il Gran Bis­cotto. Paolo was a care­ful mar­ket sci­en­tist, he un­der­stood that the con­sump­tion of cold cuts was chang­ing, that the in­tro­duc­tion of pro­sciutto cotto (cooked ham) was rev­o­lu­tion­ary. He per­son­ally went to the shops, the re­tail out­lets, to lis­ten to peo­ple. While pro­sciutto cotto was gar­ner­ing at­ten­tion and be­ing used in the kitchen, it was still lit­tle-known to con­sumers. Pro­sciutto cotto was con­sid­ered the cin­derella of cured meats. Paolo, on the other hand, be­lieved the op­po­site. He was con­vinced that a top-qual­ity pro­sciutto cotto would be­come a wide­spread con­sumer prod­uct. And it is be­cause of his will­ing­ness to in­tro­duce his prod­uct to as many peo­ple as pos­si­ble, that he met with the fa­mous

Paolo Ro­vagnati is a young bach­e­lor who gives ev­ery­thing to the project just as he has done to his bride: he leaves his stud­ies and en­trusts his train­ing to ex­pe­ri­ence.

pre­sen­ter of the Ital­ian “Wheel of For­tune” (“La Ruota della Fortuna”), Mike Bon­giorno, and be­came spon­sors of the pro­gram. Great fore­sight. Mike was the right per­son to tell Ital­ians about Il Gran Bis­cotto Ro­vagnati.

Ro­vagnati is a mod­ern and evolved com­pany that hasn’t lost its gen­uine fam­ily spirit. How much does this af­fect com­pany man­age­ment?

The fam­ily as the cen­ter­piece of our work is the dis­tinc­tive fea­ture of our com­pany and its man­age­ment, our prod­ucts and ev­ery ac­tiv­ity we un­der­take. Our prod­ucts are de­signed by a fam­ily for Ital­ian fam­i­lies – con­sumers, buy­ing them, say they feel that. Fam­ily is syn­ony­mous with good things, re­la­tion­ships, home. They are the dis­tinc­tive el­e­ments of our prod­ucts. Fam­ily for us also means mak­ing our prod­ucts eas­ily ac­ces­si­ble all over the world and, nat­u­rally, this coun­try. This is why, over the years, we have also in­vested heav­ily in dis­tri­bu­tion net­works that en­able us to be present in 10,000 hy­per­mar­kets and in 25,000 shops and su­per­mar­kets, thanks to the work of 250 peo­ple whose pro­fes­sion­al­ism we have in­vested in and will con­tinue to do so.

Main­tain­ing high qual­ity has al­ways been the group’s pri­or­ity. How can you keep con­sis­tently high stan­dards?

Qual­ity, for us, be­gins on the farm, where an­i­mal wel­fare is a pri­or­ity. Another im­por­tant as­pect, our strong point, is to main­tain the crafts­man­ship of cold cuts, es­pe­cially of cooked ham, which make our prod­ucts unique. We carry out hun­dreds of daily checks at all stages of the pro­duc­tion chain so that only the best hams are marked Ro­vagnati and make it to the tables of our con­sumers or restau­rant kitchens.

Ro­vagnati’s cul­tural tra­di­tion goes hand in hand with tech­nol­ogy. In­no­va­tion is a ma­jor part of in­vest­ment. What are the group’s next moves re­gard­ing re­search and de­vel­op­ment?

We have al­ways been con­cerned about prod­uct in­no­va­tion and of course, of­fer­ing con­sumers the best prod­ucts. We were amongst the first in Italy to in­tro­duce vac­uum-sealed salami, which is a guar­an­tee of top qual­ity for cus­tomers, and adapts to new eat­ing habits and con­sump­tion needs. We have in­vested in sus­tain­abil­ity by min­i­miz­ing the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact of pro­duc­tion. Through our Ro­vagnati Lab, our tech­ni­cians are work­ing to­wards in­no­va­tion ev­ery day.

Ro­vagnati’s qual­ity is ap­pre­ci­ated not only at na­tional level but also abroad. Which are the most devel­op­ing mar­kets and what kind of ac­tiv­ity do you in­tend to im­ple­ment to in­ten­sify this process of internationalization?

We are cur­rently present in many Euro­pean mar­kets, par­tic­u­larly France, Ger­many and Bel­gium, but we are look­ing at mar­kets with a grow­ing fo­cus on Ital­ian salami and, in par­tic­u­lar,

our Cotto Gran Bis­cotto: first of all, the United States and Canada. Also China, and the Far East in gen­eral, are open­ing up to the con­sump­tion of Ital­ian salami.

Brand growth has also been sup­ported by im­por­tant ac­qui­si­tions, such as the his­toric brand in­vented more than a cen­tury ago by butcher Whilel­mus Van Berkel, today a global icon of slic­ing ma­chines. How does this type of syn­ergy in­crease brand value?

The ac­qui­si­tion of Berkel is part of a broad-based pol­icy that aims to pro­vide our cus­tomers with a con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence be­yond the prod­uct. And that means slic­ing our hams and our salami with the best slicers. It looks like a sec­ondary as­pect but the tools used for slic­ing hams and the know-how of salami mak­ers make all the dif­fer­ence in the prod­uct that is brought to the ta­ble.

It is no co­in­ci­dence that be­hind the best Ital­ian del­i­ca­cies at del­i­catessens, as well as at many restau­rants cur­rently serv­ing cold cuts and, of course, in the Bistrò Ro­vagnati, there are Berkel slicers. The ac­qui­si­tion of Berkel has had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the brand’s value, es­pe­cially among big play­ers in the in­dus­try, be­cause it has been in­ter­preted as the will to fo­cus more and more on the qual­ity of ser­vice.

In Novem­ber 2016, Ro­vagnati went on to ac­quire Pinei­der, a well-known Floren­tine brand of ar­ti­sanal sta­tionery. Why this par­tic­u­lar di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion?

Ev­ery day we carry out hun­dreds of checks at all stages of the chain so that only the best hams be­come Ro­vagnati prod­ucts.

The ac­qui­si­tion of Pinei­der by Ro­vagnati SPA is part of a larger di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion project un­der­taken with Berkel and char­ac­ter­ized by the re­launch of pres­ti­gious brands of Made in Italy, in a mar­ket where the cus­tomer wants ab­so­lute qual­ity.

At the end of 2016, the group made its de­but in the di­rect restau­rant trade, with the open­ing of 2 Ro­vagnati Bistrò, an oper­a­tion that wit­nesses the de­sire to get closer to the fi­nal con­sumer. Is Mi­lan Square is just the be­gin­ning?

We de­cided to fo­cus on qual­ity cater­ing and started in Mi­lan, the city where I was born, to pro­mote a more di­rect re­la­tion­ship with the con­sumer, and to en­hance the use of cold cuts in the kitchen, draw­ing from tra­di­tion but by in­no­vat­ing at the same time. With this in mind, the Ro­vagnati Acad­emy project goes to ho­tel schools through­out Europe. We in­vite young stu­dents, the chefs of the fu­ture, to rein­vent the use of kitchen sausages, lead­ing play­ers in Ital­ian gas­tro­nomic cul­ture. “BISTRÒ ITAL­IANO” of­fers to all fans of good cook­ing tasty but light, de­li­cious ap­pe­tiz­ers and light lunches based on Ro­vagnati recipes, with salami the main el­e­ment in th­ese gourmet matches. This is a way to re­dis­cover our con­sumers’ dif­fer­ent uses of cold cuts.

The ac­qui­si­tion of Berkel has had a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact on the value of the brand be­cause it has been in­ter­preted as the de­sire to fo­cus more and more on the qual­ity of ser­vice.

Clau­dia Li­monta, Pres­i­dent of Ro­vagnati, with her sons Ferruccio and Lorenzo

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