Italian food culture: you live to eat
Italian food culture: you live to eat

Italian food culture: you live to eat

Italian food culture: you live to eat interview with Nicola Bressan, CEO and founder of Italian Food Trading Srl

In addition to national cultural treasures such as art and architecture, as well as an enchanting landscape, Italy also offers a rich and diverse gastronomic culture, which is also popular around the world thanks to the export of regional specialties such as prosciutto di Parma, parmesan or traditionally a variety of pasta produced. Italian Food Trading Srl of Verona focuses on the global trade of Italian food specialties and provides customers in 16 countries with selected products of the highest quality. The economic forum spoke to the CEO and company founder Nicola Bressan about the worldwide popularity of Italian food ingredients and culture.

Wirtschaftsforum: Mr. Bressan, how was the company born?

Nicola Bressan: I learned to cook when I was young and I worked as a cook for three years. At the age of 23, however, I wanted to refocus professionally and started working in the food trade. So I got to know the topic of Italian food and regional specialties from both points of view. In 2003 I finally dared to take the step of self-employment. By founding Italian Food Trading, I was able to combine my passion with my knowledge.

Wirtschaftsforum: How has the company developed in the meantime? Have you achieved your goals?

Nicola Bressan: I am very satisfied with how things have developed in recent years. Today we are present in 16 countries through a network of 60 wholesalers and we are constantly expanding our sales network. In addition to Europe, we opened a sales office in Dubai earlier this year to target the future Middle East market. Furthermore, for a year we have been managing a showcase on the Alibaba trading platform, through which we also serve the markets of the USA, Africa and Asia. We have focused on exporting from the beginning and today we make 60% of our sales overseas.

Wirtschaftsforum: Italian foods are appreciated all over the world. How do you differentiate yourself from other retail companies in the industry?

Nicola Bressan: There aren't many medium-sized companies in our sector that also export. Our customers appreciate the professionalism of our service and the knowledge of the product we carry with us. We always focus on the highest quality when selecting the products in our portfolio. We are always looking for new products that meet our quality standards and occupy a special niche to offer our customers the widest possible choice. To this end, we conduct intensive market research to design our product portfolio in line with market trends. Since many of these products have to be transported at controlled temperatures, we have gained in-depth knowledge in this area as well. Where we are also very different from other suppliers is the fact

Wirtschaftsforum: who are your customers?

Nicola Bressan: We are mainly active in the B2B area. We supply customers in the catering sector such as hotels and restaurants. But private customers from Italy and abroad can have the products of our portfolio delivered through our online shop, The range ranges from dairy products and cheeses to sausages, pasta, oil and vinegar to bread sticks, biscuits and drinks.

Wirtschaftsforum: How important are digital sales channels to you?

Nicola Bressan: They are very important. While we continue to work with our network of agents, we receive more and more inquiries through digital channels. Currently, out of 100 new contacts in Italy and abroad, 40 are generated through Alibaba and 60 through our site.

Wirtschaftsforum: What role does the German-speaking market play for you?

Nicola Bressan: Our most important export countries are Scandinavia, Germany and Austria. We expect continued strong growth here.

Wirtschaftsforum: the coronavirus pandemic has hit the restaurant sector hard. How was it perceived?

Nicola Bressan: As a supplier to the restaurant business, the last year has been very difficult for us. In 2020, due to the pandemic, we lost 45% of our sales in Italy and 25% of our sales abroad. The overseas loss was less because we offer our customers great service without a specified minimum order size. We are also looking for products for our customers who want them but may not exist in our portfolio. Due to the pandemic, many customers have switched to home deliveries and therefore needed different products. We were able to remedy this.

Wirtschaftsforum: You have been in business for almost two decades. What else motivates you to go to work every day?

Nicola Bressan: Those who work in the food sector see it not only as a job, but as a culture. For me, eating is an art. It is not a job, it is a passion. Always discover new limits to overcome. It's not hard to motivate yourself when you can learn something new every day and there are new tastes to discover.