States Marco Nocivelli, new President Assofoodtec (Italian Food Technologies Association), announcing the growth trend for many companies in this sector
Can you give an overview of the market of food processing technologies? In 2015, the market registered a production increase by 3.2% compared to the previous year, with good forecasts even for 2016 (+1.6%). Finally we have seen once again a positive sign, albeit the growth trend of this year still has to be consolidated. We hope the Government will play its part and continue its efforts to drive the replacement of equipment that today can be more performing and offer improved safety and environmental standards. The Hoteliers Bonus is a good example, that should be extended to other sectors.
Technologies and innovations in the agro-food sector: what is the position of your member companies from this point of view? Our member companies have always stood out for their attention to technological and regulatory developments. Assofoodtec members urge for the definition of more stricter and performing standards, which usually start on a voluntary basis and only later on are implemented into the legislation. As for example the regulations on consumptions of refrigerated cabinets, or the guidelines released by the association to clarify interpretative uncertainties.
Do you think events like CibusTec, which saw the widespread participation of Italian and foreign companies, may contribute to develop the market? Every event that communicates technological developments and reports on expectations is welcome. CibusTec is an excellent example of Italian exhibition, with industry at centre stage. As association, we hope that even the Government will continue to promote the implementation of technologies that help firms be more productive and profitable. There is an urgent need to reduce the gap between the most sustainable companies and those which, perhaps due to the difficulty in raising funds, did not keep pace with the new technological developments.
In the Italian food industry, which are the most representative sectors of the Made in Italy? It is quite difficult to create a ranking, because Italy is worldwide known for the extremely high quality of its food products, and I wouldn’t like to be forgetting anyone. Agro-food products, with protected designation of origin and protected geographic indication, so called PDO, PGI AND DOCG, are over 800 in Italy. But it is also worth noting that Italy is also the homeland of pasta and pizza, of espresso coffee and home-made ice-cream, in addition to one of the major producers of wine, oil, rice and citrus fruits, to mention but a few.
How do you assist your members in developing new business opportunities on the international stage? The association promotes new technologies taking part to legislative round tables at European and international level. The support in exhibitions and fairs of the sector is an excellent method, just like the active participation to promotion activities coordinated by Confindustria. On the initiative of the association, frequent meetings are held dedicated to individual countries or areas, with the intervention of experts that can assist the members in exporting their products to specific areas around the world. Between 2015 and 2016, for instance, we met 16 countries. For 2017, we have already planned meetings dedicated to as many export destinations, among which China, India and United States.
Is the growing import on Italian territory of non-European machines not complying with the EU legislation a problem for Italian producers? Certainly, the failure to comply with the EU legislation, and the little control by the authorities is a constant thorn in the flesh for the sector. As association, we keep urging authorities to offer guidance on the compliance with existing regulations. Our members even have the possibility of alerting us on infringement cases, so that the association can implement the necessary actions with the competent authorities.