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Molino Spadoni: we will cook at home even after lockdown

Exclusive interview with the marketing manager Katia Borrini

Molino Spadoni's marketing manager, Katia Borrini, takes stock of an intense 2020 and shares the forecasts for the near future with Efa News.

Molino Spadoni expects to close 2020 with a turnover of around 60 million euros, up by 17%, driven above all by the + 60% of retail which offset the losses of Horeca. But that's not all: new references, even in unprecedented fields such as craft beers, a reorganization of distribution and logistics, investments in communication. The marketing manager of the Ravenna-based company, Katia Borrini, takes stock of this intense year and shares the forecasts for the near future with Efa News.

How much has the lockdown and the return to home cooking influenced the increase in sales? Was it a trend just underway or are these results the effect of other actions? Which?

The lockdown, in particular the first in spring 2020, was a moment of great sales performance for us. At that moment the consumer landscape was redefined abruptly as never before in recent history. For the sector to which we belong, this has meant a surge in demand due to the double phenomenon that characterized phase 1. The urgent need to stock up on basic necessities, especially durable ones, which is a typical response in periods of crisis. On the other hand, the time spent at home has opened up to the possibility of dedicating oneself to cooking, also rediscovering long preparations, such as baking. For both reasons, the flour was one of the great protagonists of those weeks with the effect that the shelves were empty for a long time. In the short term, this for us, who have been able to respond with an efficient production and logistics reorganization, capable of supporting this increase in demand, is matched by doubled sales volumes in large-scale distribution and numbers never recorded on our e-commerce channel. On the other hand, we also observed an effect destined to last longer than the lockdown period: experimenting in the kitchen has allowed people to go beyond the purchases of traditional products, to aim for different varieties of flour, driven by the desire to specialize, or from the curiosity to try new things. This has allowed us to increase the quantity of flour sold across all those proposed by us: alongside our best sellers, flours or preparations for particular preparations or less refined, stone-ground, wholemeal flours have begun to be purchased in a consistent manner, regional. In short, 2020 was a year of quantitative but also qualitative exploit for us. Certainly our depth of range, but also our ability to grasp the evolution of demand and transform it into proposals responding to new needs, was fundamental in the results achieved: none of the ideas that the market offered us fell unheard. Recently, for example, we have expanded the range of regional references: the satisfaction of this proposal derives from a strong attention of consumers to the origin of the raw materials, the Italian spirit and, in this case, even the regionality.

How did you manage the doubling of production?

We promptly reorganized ourselves, from a production and logistical point of view, to support the new volumes required and guarantee a constant supply to the points of sale. We have added new figures in various functions, strengthened the factories and transport logistics.

Are you planning to expand your business to other areas?

Our research and development activity is constant and constantly "churns out" novelties, related to our core business and parallel to it. In 2020, for example, we launched our line of craft beers, available in large-scale distribution and on our e-commerce, under the Birrificio del Molino brand: products that are only apparently distant from our world, actually born precisely on the basis of the great expertise gained in the cereals. Then there are all the frozen products which by now, with the latest launches in 2020, have become a range full of high-level service references, which constitute real last minute solutions to solve lunches, dinners, aperitifs and snacks: such as our range of pizza and pizza bases alla pala, also launched during 2020, but also gluten-free proposals such as panini or ovenable margherita pizza. It is precisely the feedback obtained from the many proposals, which respond to specific needs such as gluten free, motivated Molino Spadoni to formulate a line - AlimentazionE DedicatA - with products designed for those who follow particular diets, but who are not willing to give up on taste that has always distinguished our products. This includes products such as the Low Glycemic Index Preparation, highly specific yet with a very high sales potential because it is also ideal for those who are simply careful to follow a controlled diet with the aim of keeping fit. Our attitude to innovation and diversification has therefore always been very high, as demonstrated by our other products (pasta, cheeses, cured meats, meats, liqueurs, vinegar). As far as the flour and bakery world is concerned, we will certainly continue with the path we are following: innovation, diversification, service, specialization.

Do you believe there will be a 'rebound' effect in 2021?

The first signs of the year are positive (focus: retail channel) so we assume that certain habits, such as the greater propensity to cook at home and to dedicate time to this practice, which have been consolidated during the pandemic, will persist over time.

Do you think that products like yours will still be rewarded this year too? What are your predictions?

Yes. We believe that beyond the parenthesis of the lockdown that led to a peak in sales to be contextualized certainly with the particular historical moment, consumption has changed in a more profound way. This will have a long tail, especially for companies like ours which, alongside more classic products, present a range of references that meet different tastes and needs and therefore can cover a very broad and diversified target. Variety is certainly an important element that transmits a message of expertise to the consumer, on the other hand every new entry into the range is facilitated by the brand awareness built over the years. 2020 was a year that allowed consumers to experiment with new flours, appreciate their qualities and this is a heritage that we will not waste. In the coming months we also expect a new return to products-services, such as preparations and mixes, which can fulfill the request for time savings that will characterize consumption also in the new normal.

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EFA News - European Food Agency