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When coffee is Lavazza
Rome - (Adnkronos Multimedia) - With its one hundred and ten years of history, all dedicated to coffee, it has become the world's leading producer among single-product outfits, with more than 1,700 employees, about € 800 million in sales revenue (approximately one third of which on foreign markets), and investments in technology, research, and development equalling about 5% of sales. The company? Lavazza, Italy's most popular and one of the world's most well-known coffee brands. It has four production facilities, all in Italy, seven foreign subsidiaries in France, Germany, Spain, the United Kingdom, Portugal, Austria, and the United States, and a commercial distribution network active in eighty countries. Lavazza came into being as a small family enterprise in Turin in 1895, when Luigi Lavazza opened up a "Droghe e Coloniali" shop. The company is now led by the family's third and fourth generation. Emilio Lavazza serves as Chairman and Alberto Lavazza as Vice Chairman, while the fourth generation - Giuseppe, Antonella, Marco, and Francesca Lavazza - sits on the company's Board of Directors. We asked Giuseppe Lavazza to tell us the winning strategy for achieving this success.
"I believe that the main elements have been product quality and the ability to innovate. The Lavazza brand is enjoying increased popularity, at home and abroad, thanks to communication efforts that, although managing to remain fresh over time, have maintained the central idea of coffee as not merely a drink, but as a creative and alluring product. On the other hand, creativity, innovation, and solid knowledge of our industry and our markets are values on which our success have been built for 110 years. The first revolution was introduced by our founder, Luigi, with his idea of blending coffees from different origins and sources, in a delicate and skilled play of balance and proportion, scents and flavours, obtaining a drink with an unprecedented, harmonious taste. Then in the 1970s, Lavazza was the first to introduce vacuum-sealed aluminium foil coffee packaging."
What foreign markets are you betting on?
"After consolidating our supremacy in Italy's household market, in the 1980s we took more decisive aim at international expansion. The first Lavazza subsidiaries were established in Paris and Frankfurt, while 1988 saw the birth of the North American subsidiary in New York, and of the Austrian one in Vienna. We opened the Group's fifth foreign subsidiary in London in the 1990s. The sixth subsidiary, Barcelona's Lavazza Espana, was established in 1998. Again in Spain, a chain of coffee shops was purchased and developed, and now boasts nearly one hundred "Caffè di Roma" points of sale. In recent years, foreign growth has featured the purchase of some local roasters specializing in the café sector in France, and of a London-area distributor of coffee for bars. Important commercial successes have also been achieved in Poland, Bulgaria, Israel, and Australia, where Lavazza is one of the leading brands".
What role has quality research played?
"Lavazza products are based on the raw material - coffee - that the Group imports through rigorous selection from major producing countries: Brazil and Colombia in South America, Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Honduras in Central America, Uganda in Africa, and Indonesia and Vietnam in Asia. With our selective approach and the direct contacts developed over so many years of hard work with producing countries, we can put out a great variety of blends and a wide range of products to satisfy all tastes and budgets, while ensuring excellent quality standards at all times. And the entire process, from bean selection to packaging the finished product, is subjected to a rigorous quality assurance protocol, which has earned us the quality system certification in accordance with ISO 9001 regulations. But quality must be built from the very origin, and nowadays it cannot be considered outside of a broader vision rewarding sustainability - of our product and of work for everyone in the coffee industry. This is why we have launched ¡Tierra! - a project aimed at allowing the small producing communities in Honduras, Colombia, and Peru to raise the quality of their coffees and guarantee the proper use of natural resources, in order to be more competitive on the market, ensure adequate sustainability for production, and at the same time improve their own social conditions."
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