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TRADITIONAL MONTEBOVI SWEET PRODUCTS NOW SET TO CONQUER MARKETS OUTSIDE ITALY
Innovation underpinning tradition: this is the winning formula behind the success of the Montebovi Group, a company producing sweet products since 1964. As a result of their quality and affordable price, these products have crossed well beyond Lazio‚Äôs borders and landed on supermarket shelves throughout Italy. For some years they have also been successful in overseas markets.
We spoke to Stefano Montebovi, chief executive and son of the founder (Bernardo), about the way in which the company‚Äôs commercial priorities have changed over time as well as discussing the future prospects for exports.
Let us briefly retrace your company‚Äôs history: what factors have changed from 1964 to the present day?
When the company was founded in the mid-seventies, we sold typical regional products in the Rome market. These products bore our trademark and were manufactured under licence. Later in 1990 we entered the production and mass distribution network for the whole of Italy and also began to produce other traditional products like tarts and doughnuts. Production gradually increased as we diversified into 36 product types. Over the last few years the company has increased in size to 250 employees, with an annual turnover of 80 million Euros. As a result we have turned our attention to expansion outside Italy.
How do you intend to make your move in markets outside Italy? Have you already identified a specific group of products which you intend to promote in a particular way in overseas markets?
We have conceived a sort of basket of products which are made in Italy but well-suited to the market outside Italy: these include sponge fingers, amaretto biscuits, cantuccini biscuits and many other traditional Italian sweet products that are appreciated by tourists who visit Italy. We have encountered strong demand for these products, especially in Eastern Europe.
Which markets are you prioritising insofar as export prospects are concerned?
The company‚Äôs natural outlet is in the consolidated markets of Europe: referring particularly to Spain, Germany, France and Austria. Like Italy, these countries are dominated by a mass distribution network. It is still too soon to go for the US market in light of the current consumer crisis.
Why do customers choose Montebovi sweet products?
The emphasis that we always place on quality raw materials is certainly a significant factor since none of our sweet products contains hydrogenated fat. And then there is the importance of an attractive price-quality relationship: the prices of our sweet products are also kept low thanks to the efficiency of our production lines, which are controlled by a state-of-the-art computer system. Our quality system has achieved ISO 14001, 9001, IFS and BRC certifications.
The latter is designed specifically to monitor the control of standards in the working environment, the product itself, the entire production process and staff care and selection. These are all areas in which the Rome-based company certainly makes the grade, which makes the 20% export objective projected for 2010/2011 a perfectly attainable goal.