The Italian Food and Drink Federation– which Federalimentare represents through its 17 sector Associations members of Confindustria – is one of the pillars of our national economy, representing the second manufacturing industry of our country with a turnover of 110 billion euros (of which 16 in export) and 36,000 companies - of which 6,600 with more than 9 employees and 2,600 with more than 20 employees-, with over 400,000 employees. Along with agriculture, induced activity and distribution, the Food and Drink Industry is the central element of the first economic sector of the Country. Industry buys and processes 70% of the national agricultural raw materials and is generally recognized as the ambassador of Made in Italy in the world considering that almost 80% of the Italian agro-food export is represented by high quality industry brands. The sector can claim several important factors and its image is an heritage extremely appreciated in Europe and in the world, divided in an enviable range of high quality products and on a wide series of products of protected or controlled designation of origin which are leading in the international markets. It’s a success due to the strict bonds of the Italian food and drink production with land and with the cultural heritage of Italy, and due to the safety standards, along with the ability to mix tradition and innovation of processes and of products. This is the reason why the sector is the target of a wide range of actions of imitation and forgery, especially on rich and demanding markets, like the American and the North European ones. Nevertheless, in spite of the positive figures reached in 2006, the food and drink industry is penalized by some structural gaps that hold down its growth and its capacity to compete. The main factor that penalizes the growth of the food and drink industry is the extreme fragmentation of production, that comes even before the other bonds that restrain the whole system of our companies (structural lacks and logistics, exaggerated costs of production like energy, low quality offer of services for the companies). The sector is characterized by an extreme fragmentation, that sees only 20% of the companies above the threshold of 9 units and the remaining 30.000 firms tied to such a small dimension ( 3-9 units) that with the global trends adopted by our competitors it would seem unthinkable to realize any kind of competition. Its clear that the dimension of the companies in one of the major obstacles to the capacity to invest in research and innovation or to have access to the processes of transfer of technological innovations. Instead, a strong impulse to the transfer of process and product innovation would certainly contribute to improve the position of competition of our food industry, especially of the small and medium enterprises. About 25% of the turnover of the agro-food industry comes out from products for which innovation is an essential factor and which possess more added value; we are speaking of the so-called traditionally evolved, ready to eat sauces, spicy oils, fresh seasonings, frozen foods, etc., and of the real new products, that are products with a high content of wellness and of services. If we consider the trends of the models of food consumption, this line of more “evolved” products is likely to reach more space in comparison with the so-called classic food (pasta, preserved foods, cheese, wine, oil), that at the moment reach about two thirds of the entire turnover (65%), while the remaining 9% is represented by products of brand of origin and, by a smaller percentage, by biological products. So, if the internal market begins to show that research and innovation are one of the incentives of progress, the international one shows us that without capacity to innovate the risk to stay out of the market is going to become a reality, especially for our commodities. There is no doubt, therefore, that the success of our products rises from the capacity of our managers to mix tradition and innovation, giving due emphasis to applied research. During these last years our food companies, as a matter of fact have employed the most recent technologies, adapting them to the traditional gastronomical recipes, in order to create products easy to prepare, with higher security standards and a high level of quality. These results are possible only allocating resources every year to research. This financial commitment would not only mean an investment for the future but also an immediate response to the consumers’ demands within the Italian Style. The Italian and international market of food products will be more and more affected by the changes in society (especially by the ageing an individualization), by the changes of the nutritional habits and by the way of life. For this reason the Italian food and drink industry is constantly involved in meeting the consumers’ needs supplying products adapted to the various nutritional needs, considering as well the different ways of consumption that enable the consumer to make responsible choices and to follow a diet suitable to his lifestyle and the physical activity performed. The consumers themselves, especially the Italian and the European, are more and more in a position to recognize the real value of what they are buying, from the choice of the primary products, the technological features, to the attention given to the correct employ of natural resources, to logistics and packaging, from the point of view of the conceit of global quality. As a response to these requirements Federalimentare, while already involved in Brussels coordinating the European Technological Platform “Food for Life”, has started up, together with Crui (Conference of the Chancellors of the Italian Universities) and in cooperation with the University of Bologna, ENEA Biotec, Tecnoalimenti and with the most representative experts of the agroindustry sector in Italy, the National Technology Platform “Italian Food for life”. It is an instrument created with the aim to stimulate research and technological innovation in the agro-food sector at a national level in order to strengthen the scientific and technological basis of our food and drink industry, encouraging the development and international competition, especially to help the Small and Mediun Enterprises. The technology Platform “Italian Food for life” is a unique opportunity not only to promote the coordination of the research activity of primary products and nutrition, assuring whether the direction, whether enough critical mass, but also to guarantee transfer of know-how to the companies. Without any doubt the promotion of the culture of innovation, of research and training is the keystone for the success of our products in Italy and abroad. We are speaking of what will be recognized as the future Made in Italy of food, that today needs to pass through specialization, research and technological progress in order to become, tomorrow, the “new classic” in which stands out our capacity, typically Italian, to elaborate culture and know-how, innovation and tradition.
|Titolo:||Italian technology platform on food for life the vision for 2020 and beyond (A research agenda)|
|Data di pubblicazione:||feb-2007|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||4.1 Contributo in Atti di convegno|