Shaun Weston talks to Filippo Berio UK managing director, Walter Zanre, about the olive oil industry and his hopes for the Filippo Berio brand.
You’re relaunching Filippo Berio with new packaging. Why did you decide to do this?
Walter Zanre: We have introduced our founder’s image to communicate our brand values to shoppers. Filippo Berio was a real person and had a passion for olive oil. His values are as true today as they were then, but we’ve been guilty of not effectively telling people about this.
As a family owned company, it has allowed us to maintain these core values in the business, which differentiates us from other olive oil brands that have become transactional in their approach.
Is olive oil experiencing resurgence in the UK?
Walter Zanre: As a result of the current economic climate, we have actually seen a slight slowdown in consumption in the UK after many years of growth. However, we think that this is a temporary blip. We have seen household penetration grow from 35-55% in a decade and we are confident that new consumers will come to the category.
It is also our mission to take inspiration from the wine market and deliver more understanding, thus more choice, to the consumer in the olive oil fixture.
How do seasonal olive oil sales compare against one another? Is it a summer-dominant product?
Walter Zanre: We see a very slight bulge in sales during the summer months, but in fact olive oil is consumed all year round. The biggest spike in sales we see is during the run-up to Christmas.
The Filippo Berio brand is particularly popular in Japan. Why do you think this is?
Walter Zanre: The family had the vision to invest in the Japanese market many years ago when olive oil consumption was in its infancy, and today are reaping the benefits of this. Of course, it’s helped us that we’ve had a very good partner in Japan.
Are you moving into new global markets?
Walter Zanre: Massimo Saracchi, our CEO, has a very clear strategy in developing global markets and his first year has already established new subsidiaries in Brazil Russia and Singapore (our gateway to the East).
The new packaging will feature Filippo Berio’s face. How important do you think the marketing of brand heritage is these days?
Walter Zanre: For us, brand heritage is the biggest differentiator between us and other brands. We have a founder, we remain a family owned company which allows us to maintain his values.
Consumer research confirms that heritage and provenance are of huge importance to today’s increasingly sophisticated consumer.
What are your hopes for the Filippo Berio brand over the next 12 months?
Walter Zanre: In the UK, we want to consolidate our brand leadership and ensure that we communicate to our customers our brand values. We believe that by consistently delivering this message, it will deliver us sustainable growth in the UK. Anyone can use price promotion, but this isn’t a long-term strategy.
Article source foodbevFilippo Berio UK managing director, Walter Zanre, about the olive oil industry,