Allegrini 2018

“Hard times are coming, but Made in Italy is strong. It needs to be promoted as a clean product”

WineNews interviewed Oscar Farinetti. “Sustainability must top the list of values of the products we offer to the world”
Made in Italy post Covid-19: Oscar Farinetti’s observations

The first Eataly store opened in New York, exactly 10 years ago, in Manhattan, at 200 5th Avenue. It measures 7.000 square meters dedicated to high quality Italian food and beverages, modeled after the first Eataly in Turin Lingotto, the store that has since become “The Mother” of all the others: 42 stores to date in 18 countries around the world. It is an opportunity to celebrate a milestone in the path of what has become a quality Made in Italy giant in the world (Nicola Farinetti, CEO, is today at the helm, boasting a turnover in 2019 returned to profit, of 8 million euros, and consolidated revenues of 527 million euros. Plus, the first two months of 2020 started with a further growth of 6.6%, but then slowed down due to the Covid-19 outbreak, as Nicola Farinetti told WineNews in June 2020). It is also a chance to reflect on the future of all Made in Italy products, in the post Covid-19 era. One of the most successful Italian entrepreneurs, a “merchant”, as he himself, creator of Eataly, Oscar Farinetti, has defined himself several times, talked about his observations. He explained to WineNews that despite all the difficulties, there is still a great desire for Made in Italy wine & food and more, around the world. However, to promote this desire, we need to take another step, in terms of communication as well. “It is obvious that the world is on alert. We all see it, and we also see it on our barometer composed of 42 stores in the 18 richest countries in the world: Europe, the Americas and Asia. Having said that, up to now we have done very well going out into the world and narrating our traditions, customs, and the characteristics of the craftsmanship of Italian food and wine. Looking to the future, we must now add other values and new identifying elements to the narrative. I have been focusing for years on identifying the Italian product as a “clean product”; that is, a product free of herbicides, synthetic fertilizers, produced in harmony with water, earth and air. Let’s say that we have done quite well on the topics of quality, originality, freshness, digestibility, history and traditions. It is now time to add sustainability to these topics, but it has to be put at the top of the list, because this will be the greatest challenge over the next few years”.
A reflection on the American market is called for, given the anniversary as well as its importance, as it is one of the markets most in difficulty due to the effects of Covid-19, but not only. The US is one of the main markets for Made in Italy agro-food, and the absolute number one market for wine.
“The 10-year anniversary of Eataly New York unfortunately occurs in the most difficult time for New York and the US. At the moment, the US is a country in crisis and in the deepest crisis of all the countries we know and in which we do business. It is truly unfortunate, because the US is the country that has always given us the greatest satisfaction, where we have managed to express the top of our potential, and today New York is on its knees. I was talking to my son, Nicola, just yesterday, who is now at the head of Eataly, and he was telling me about a city where a lot of people are leaving, in other words, they are really moving out of New York. People are incredibly afraid. And not just in New York, also throughout the entire United States, and maybe even more so in Chicago. A terrible guerrilla war between social classes seems to be starting. There is a great danger of implosion, precisely because of the social differences, which in recent years, in the US have intensified immensely. Trump’s politics and the world of finance have meant that the gap between those who have more and those who have less has widened too much, and this will create enormous complications. We are very worried about the US, and we will observe from here what will happen by the end of the year. We all hope that politics will change completely starting in November, functioning as social reconciliation and implementing an economic policy that favors a better redistribution of wealth”.
However, according to Farinetti, we need to look to the future with confidence, believing in the strength of Made in Italy, even though it will take time to get back to normal, or to build a new future.
“We must recover from this emergency that in addition to being physical, is also psychological, because, for the first time, the people who have never had to face World Wars or pandemics, have found themselves facing a tragedy. It is similar to talking to us in the wine world about a hailstorm that hits the world over and destroys all agriculture. It is a very challenging psychological moment for everyone, which we thought we would have gotten over earlier, but now we understand that this is not so and it will take much longer. I believe, and at this point I even hope, that by spring 2021, things will get better as the vaccine and a cure are found. It is certain, though, that we have months, if not years, of hard and problematic times ahead. Then, the exceptional power of Made in Italy will return, to enjoy an immense “natural world demand”. Some of our experiences confirm this, like our Eataly in Munich, Germany, one of the countries that in my opinion has reacted best to Covid-19, and here we are earning the same as before. The demand is there, it is up to us to respond. We have to get out of our chairs more often and go narrate our marvels to other people in the world”. Eataly will continue to grow in the world, despite Covid-19, as Nicola Farinetti explained in an interview in June 2020. “We have an excellent development program that we don't want to change. Despite Covid-19, or even thanks to it, the desire around the world to have high quality, sustainable, clean Italian food will be even stronger. We have scheduled Dallas, Texas for the end of 2020, and we hope to make it to London end of 2020, beginning of 2021, and gradually the United States in Silicon Valley (San Jose, ed.), Europe in Brussels where we have an exciting project, and then Verona, in Italy, where we had to stop for a while, but we are hoping to open by December 2021”.
In the meantime, today we are celebrating 10 years of Eataly in the United States. Eataly Torino Lingotto and Eataly Milano Smeraldo will join Eataly NY and the other Eataly stores around the world to virtually create a very long “sfoglia”, egg pasta sheet. Starting at 6 pm on August 31st, the chefs and pasta makers of 10 Eataly stores (Eataly NYC Flatiron and Eataly Torino Lingotto, Eataly NYC Downtown and Eataly Milano Smeraldo, Eataly Chicago and Eataly Dubai, Eataly Boston and Eataly Stockholm, and Eataly Los Angeles and Eataly Istanbul) will meet on Instagram Live to roll out fresh egg pasta, the Italian tradition par excellence that Eataly offers every day in its restaurants. It will be an opportunity to share recipes, anecdotes and unique suggestions. And the dough produced will be given to employees, so they can continue the celebration at home.

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