"Optimism Costs Nothing"

Cost increases, inflation and numerous crises are shaping 2022, but so is the question of greater sustainability. How are Italian companies looking at the market?

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Used to instability (Photo: lunamarina/stock.adobe.com)
Used to instability (Photo: lunamarina/stock.adobe.com)

Costs are terrible - energy, glass, plastic, prices are rising everywhere," reports Federico Zanuso, Export Sales Manager at Gruppo Italiano Vini. The cost increases are coming without notice and contrary to contracts. Moreover, an easing of supply chains has still not occurred. "We have become much more flexible and so have our partners," says Zanuso.

Currently, the company faces the difficult decision of setting prices for the new year. "We want to stay within the range of normal increases," says Zanuso, who despite all the problems doesn't want to mope: "There are many possibilities for a better future. Being optimistic costs nothing."

For the Zonin winery, the situation looks similar. Twelve months ago, he says, the increase in Prosecco prices was the only concern; today, he says, they have a multitude of crises. "Everything has to be rethought," explains General Manager Pietro Mattioni. Only a small part of the cost increases has been passed on so far, he says, and the wine industry's low margins are under attack. The biggest concern remains the evolution of the markets as a result of inflation. "We understand that it's not an easy job for the trade either. We have to work together to keep the impact as low as possible for the consumer," Mattioni said.

"We are used to instability.”

The course of 2022 so far has already seen market shifts, but these have mainly to do with normalization after the Covid years of 2020 and 2021. In this regard, Zonin said he is very satisfied with the food retail business in Germany, and the Italian market is also developing better than the overall business. "We are used to instability," jokes Mattioni. The situation in Great Britain is quite different, he says. "Prosecco is losing heavily, although there has been no increase in prices at all," Mattioni reports.

Regardless of cost developments, Zonin is investing in the company's sustainable orientation, he adds. 45% of the energy consumption is already produced by the company itself, 60% of the vineyards are cultivated without chemicals. The important thing is to implement sustainability as a continuous improvement, then the costs of investments in sustainability will have less of an impact.

Mattioni didn't want to be pessimistic, either: "Big changes also bring big opportunities." Despite the obvious need for change, Mattioni wonders about the industry concentration in Italy. There are too many small wineries, he said, and growth is an important factor for economic sustainability - but the sums paid in some cases are so high that they can hardly be reconciled with yields. (CG)

 

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