The crisis: cooked to a turn
The market is growing, and the Marche-based company Alluflon is growing with it, as much as 50%. Producing entirely in Italy.
The watchword is "made in Italy". In contrast with the trend for the sector (mostly producing abroad or buying foreign companies) Alluflon, which has been making cookware since 1986, the year it acquired the historic Moneta brand founded in 1875, has remained faithful to Italy and the expectations of its demanding, loyal clientele, maintaining 100% of the production in its 40,000 sq.mt. plant in Pesaro.
It's a policy that has given good results: 11 million pots and pans produced in 2010 alone, for a turnover of 65 million euros, of which 45% came from foreign sales, particularly in France, in spite of the strength of the local competitor Tefal. This meant growth for the company of 50% over the previous year and profits for over 5 million. «At this point I would say that we can start drawing a balance for 2011 as well» the Managing Director, Giovanni Bruni, 56, who holds a degree in economics, tells Panorama Economy, «because by now we can already be sure of ending the year with another positive sign. Continuing to invest in Italy is a precise market strategy that grows out of our desire not to disappoint our clientele which, according to a survey produced for us by the market research company Nomesis, rates our Moneta brand in first place in the cookware sector».
In practice, the company deals with the world economic crisis by rolling up its sleeves and continuing to invest and grow, also at the level of its workforce.«We like the idea of creating jobs in our region of origin» continues Bruni. «Last year we had 283 employees, and this year we have 404. We owe the quality of our products all to them. The experience most of them have, that perfect extra touch that only a trained eye can provide, and the right ideas for improving products and processes, are things you can't buy in China. Here we are all working at full capacity and in the same direction: that is the key to our success».
How are you able to achieve such rapid growth in the midst of a consumer crisis of this proportion? Basically, by continuing to believe in our products. One example is the introduction of a line of cookware with ceramic lining, which after just two years accounts for 22% of our total production and is still growing.
«Cooking is fashionable today as we can clearly see from the number of television programs, books, etc. on the subject» Bruni points out «and this certainly doesn't hurt. But that is not all: to encourage the replacement of old cookware with the new models, we have created solutions like the operation Ecovantaggi Moneta, that also helps the environment because it promotes recycling aluminum, which is one of the easiest materials to recover».
The company is cutting edge also when it comes to environmental safeguards. So in addition to recycling old pots, Alluflon has reduced the C02 emissions in the air produced by its trucks and has limited the product packaging to eco-sustainable paper certified by the FSC and PEFC.
One aspect that interferes with the growth plans of the Marche-based company is the increase in prices of raw material: aluminum has increased at the origin by 20%. «We purchase this raw material from a few multinationals» concludes Bruni «and now that the price has increased, we are buying the minimum indispensable to proceed with production and maintain a stock, but without any excess, keeping an eye on the bottom line».
790 million euros
Production in 2011 of cookware in Italy: this sector will grow 2.6% with respect to 2010
IN 2011 COOKWARE IS GIVING THE CRISIS A ROASTING
550 million euros
Exports of cookware in 2011, up 7.8% over the previous year.
Workers employed in the sector this year: the growth with respect to 2010 will be 1.3%.
SOURCE: DATA PROCESSED BY THE UFFICIO STUDI ANIMA FOR MACEF