Spreading the culture of eating well, the dried fruit consumption connected to the concept of wellness, organic as a pillar of growth: Noberasco – since 1908, being a leader in the field of dried and dehydrated fruit– it has shaped its offer according to major trends in the fields of food and good living. This virtuous and well-aimed strategic choice has guaranteed the Ligurian company a significant growth, which also involved a considerable investment for a new headquarters that is already operational in Carcare, in the province of Savona. While production has already successfully started, the office building will be completed by late summer 2016.
Davide Cammi, manager of Noberasco plant, explains the characteristics of the plant and anticipates the outlook and expansion plans of the company.
Why this investiment?
“With regard to the previous plant, we had reached the maximum evolution possible. The area did not allow us to grow further. Instead, our need was to propose ourselves even abroad and have a plant up to that. We are very proud of what we did: this company is characterized by a strong presence of the family business, now in its fourth generation, and we thinks to grow this reality further through every street and channel. In this perspective, we made a considerable investment, amounting to about 40 million Euro.”
Has the removal been complex?
“In the most difficult year for removing the full production plant – 2015 – we bit the bullet and reached a record result, namely a turnover of about 110 million euro (+20%). We thought to reach this level at the end of next year. We are very happy with the start-up of the plant: they are moments to remember, because moving an entire plant is not simple. The current plant was built with completely new logics and systems and was operative in just three months. It was really incredible, there was a flat area here two years ago”.
Is the upward trend going on?
“We are happy because the growth is continuing. Demands from abroad are growing and it is a pride for us. We are also present in all exhibitions and meeting and discussion events. This constant growth invites us to do better. From 2012 to 2015, we also increased our staff by 30%”.
Why did you choose to look beyond the borders?
“In Italy, the market is ripe now and the growth potential in terms of volume are limited. We need to find new markets, starting from Europe, and then to get the certificates in order to export to the USA, where we are already arranging an expansion plan. Outside Italy, competitors increase and the market is much more advanced: just look at a dried fruit shelf at a supermarket in England. A great challenge, a great opportunity for us.”.
Does the growth strategy involve marketing as well?
“Of course. We want to create new consumption times, launch our wellness line, also with single-serve packages; our SuperFruits – an innovative fruit line, berries and seeds, selected all over the world, with special nutritional properties – were elected product of the year 2015 by consumers for the dried fruit category, based on a market research conducted by Iri and promoted by Marketing & Innovazione Italia. Clearly, there is a research upstream: we did not stop to plums and apricots, our core business. Today, the on-the-go concept is fashionable, namely the functional food that is good, a super food with many nutritional properties. We are planning other evolutions and further diversifications: our range will increase more. It is a very particular rising field. A few years ago, it was not very well-known, but now it is different, also thanks to the web and the social media. We have many strings to our bow”.
How much is the raw material important?
“It’s definitely one of our strengths, also thanks to the memorable work by Noberasco family, which built strong relationships even 40-50 years long. The time of purchase of the raw materials is very important: we travel hundreds of thousands of kilometers in order to follow the entire chain, which we have diversified over the years. Just an example: we introduced the seasonal adjustment of the walnuts, selecting good suppliers in the northern and southern hemispheres, in order to have a fresh product all year round with different varieties.”
What are the special features of the new plant?
“We have a new cooking line and two packaging lines, the dry line that produces mixed packs, we are targeting a lot at, with exact percentages of product to the milligram. However, the Carcare project is constantly growing: we are also expecting new expansions and implementations. The future is smiling at us”.
At the product level, what is your principal plus?
“The absence of preservatives, which is unique in our industry, thanks to a direct product pasteurization and hot filling packaging, which allows us to obtain a shelf-life of the product similar to the products with preservatives. A winning solution we studied at our plant”.
Is innovation a key word for you?
“We are a company that innovates a lot; we always confront and negotiate between us”.
Your technology partners include Magnoni, among others, the company from Modena that specializes in the planning and production of high-performance tailored handling systems.
“We are pleased with this collaboration. We immediately had a direct and fruitful dialogue, interfacing in a positive way and finding the appropriate solutions on all technical issues related to handling the new plant. Magnoni has been able to provide important answers also in relation to after-sales service – where it is really unparalleled – beginning from the promptness and friendliness of the answer, at any time, up to being able to solve any problem within 24 hours”.
Are you also focusing on single-brand shops?
“Yes, we will develop Noberasco shops, platforms to launch products that meet what is dear to the family: the visibility of the brand. We would like that our shops were the symbol of the dried fruit culture at the highest levels.