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“The future of made in Italy, including wine, is at the top of the range in the world’s markets”

To WineNews, Nicola Farinetti, CEO (and future president) of Eataly. “With the majority in Investindustrial, we accelerate our growth”
Nicola Farinetti, CEO of Eatly, at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto (ph: Slow Food)

Even for the wine and food companies made in Italy, expressions of a historically anti-cyclical segment of the economy, it is not an easy time. But the future is open and with concrete opportunities for growth, if we focus on the top of the range in the world’s markets. What all made in Italy must do, and how it will also do in its new corporate structure Eataly, the creature of Oscar Farinetti, which, in almost 20 years of activity, has given an important impulse to the distribution and image of Italian wine & food in the world, and which will continue to do so even now that the majority will pass into the hands of Industrial of the Bonomi family, with 52% (and a capital increase of 200 million euros, ed.). That is explained to WineNews by Nicola Farinetti, today CEO and future president of Eataly, who will, however, see the Farinetti family in the corporate structure (albeit in a minority share, with 48% divided between the Eatinvest of the same Farinetti, the Baffigo-Miroglio family and Clubitaly, through Tamburi Investment Partners, ed).
“Also for made in Italy it’s not an easy moment – Nicola Farinetti told to WineNews, at Terra Madre Salone del Gusto in Turin by Slow Food – also because it is very difficult to make forecasts. If before it was possible to work on medium - long term projects, today we also think in terms of weeks and months, because it’s very difficult to calculate the costs and very difficult to understand what will happen in the markets. But there is a great certainty: the market is developing a lot at the top of the range and a lot at the bottom, while the middle range is starting to struggle. It is clear, that there is a rich world, it still exists, and there is a world of people who have understood, even after the pandemic and with the war, that if one has passions, one must invest money in these passions. And, therefore, the work we try to do, and which, in our opinion, must continue to make the whole Italian product, is to continue to level up and to position itself higher, because that market is all over the world and we must conquer it”.
And it is a trend that affects the entire food sector, even if wine, as it has been the case for years, stands out”. “The sectors are all working well - confirms Nicola Farinetti - but wine does best of all, we have seen it for twenty years. There has been an important average price increase, however, not matched by a decrease in volumes, on the contrary: the bottles sold in the world increase, the brands known in the world increase, and I would bet a lot on Italian wine, that it will still grow a lot in the next years. Two-thirds of the world still do not drink, between religion and cultural customs. But, in 20 or 30 years, I’m sure we will drink wine even where it doesn’t happen today. And Italy and France will be at a different level from all the others, and we will be able to position ourselves very high.”
That is what will try to do also Eataly, already now presented in 17 countries around the world, with 44 stores (and an estimated turnover, at the end of 2022, of 600 million euros), which “combines” the change in governance with the confirmation of historical objectives.
“We want to accelerate with development - emphasizes Nicola Farinetti - we believe that this is the time to grow, to open stores, to bring Italian products abroad. Because we believe that, within 2 years, economies will probably change, and if you grow and broaden your shoulders in this time frame, you will find yourself in an advantageous position. To do this with our values, we think that this company, Eataly, must be 100% Italian, and therefore we wanted to buy the minority shares we had in America, where we had 60% of Eataly America, while 40% was in our partner’s hands, who are and will also remain great friends. We visualized this project, we talked about it (with Investindustrial, ed), and, when you agree on the values and the line, then things get done. In 2-3 months we fell in love and then got married”.
An action, that is some way perhaps move away, but not completely canceled, is the idea of a listing on the stock exchange. “The future of the listing is always there; it is not that this change necessarily extinguishes this possibility. Now, however, we are not focused - says Nicola Farinetti - on this, but on growing the company. Then, in the next few years, we’ll see. I remain with the idea that one day having Eataly as an Italian large-scale retail brand around the world, listed on the stock exchange, is something I would like. But we’ll see if it will be a viable path or not”. And if Farinetti is asked if there is a numerical goal to be achieved in the world, such as openings, the CEO and future president of Eataly replies: “We had a philosophical goal which was to open Eataly in every capital of the world, but obviously it will take time. The most pragmatic one, today, is to make a good development, in Europe, but especially in North America, where now the economy is going better, and everything is simpler. Even with the creation of a smaller format, which allows you to reach even smaller cities. Because the goal is to bring Italian food and wine to as many people as possible, and therefore you can’t just go to New York or Los Angeles. So, I can’t tell a number, 50, 100? We see. Let’s see how the world goes. We have a great desire to grow, and a united team that can do it”.

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