Italian pasta giant Barilla is planning to invest €1 billion over the next five years, of which half is earmarked for its home market, where it operates 15 factories and generates 41% of its turnover.
Speaking to daily Corriere della Sera, CEO Guido Barilla explained that the five-year plan will help Barilla boost its international presence in order to effectively compete with other food multinationals.
The €1 billion investment will be allocated for the enhancement of production capacity and IT infrastructures, new Industry 4.0 technologies, product and market innovation, improvement of quality and safety standards, he said.
Of this amount, €16 million has been earmarked to create a new R&D centre in Parma, which will be responsible for the development of products, recipes and technologies, in addition to agronomic research projects.
The new scientific hub will employ over 200 people, the labs and pilot plants will be renovated and new spaces will be created to encourage further collaborations with the university, partner companies and the supply chain.
International Development Centre
Guido Barilla also announced the opening of an international development centre in the Netherlands, joining the already existing ones in the US, France, Sweden and the UK.
The new centre will focus on accelerating the company's international development, enhancing its role in the main foreign markets and in those with high development potential, not only in the pasta sector, but also in sauces, pestos and oven products.
Barilla will further boost its ESG path, focusing on two main lines of action.
The first will target the sustainability of the agricultural supply chains, and in particular, durum wheat, basil, tomato and soft wheat.
Secondly, the company will also seek to reduce the environmental impact and CO2 emissions, including the installation of new renewable energy sources, such as photovoltaic panels and cogeneration plants.
Thanks to the adoption of the UN ESG 2030 Agenda, Barilla has already eliminated 10,000 trucks from the roads by encouraging rail transport, reduced water consumption per tonne of finished product by 18%, and switched to 100% paper and cardboard from responsibly managed forests for packaging.
Last year, Barilla sold 2.1 million tonnes of products in 100 countries. Its workforce comprises 8,747 employees in 29 factories.
Turnover grew 18% year-on-year, to €4.6 billion in 2022, but EBITDA margin fell from 13% to 10% in the same period due to a 50% increase in the prices of raw materials and energy supplies.