Italian coffee brand Lavazza was introduced to Australia more than 30 years ago when an influx of Greek and Italian immigrants travelled Down Under after the war.
In a country obsessed with coffee, the brand has adapted well to the changing needs of consumers and maintained its presence in Australian households over the years.
Lavazza APAC business unit director and Australia managing director, Silvio Zaccareo, tells Inside FMCG about the company’s sustainability goals, product innovation and how a local acquisition fuelled growth.
Inside FMCG: What makes Lavazza stand out in a competitive coffee market like Australia?
Silvio Zaccareo: Lavazza is an authentic Italian company with 125 years of heritage in coffee and one of the major global coffee players. We focus exclusively on high quality coffee in all its forms, in all channels – homes, offices and retail partners.
Australians recognise the strength of the Italian coffee culture and the relationship between quality coffee and Italian heritage. You only need to look at the shelves of the supermarket to see brands paying homage to the “made in Italy”.
Inside FMCG: Was 2019 a good year for Lavazza in Australia? What’s coming up this year?
SZ: 2019 was a particularly strong year for Lavazza. Australia is one of the key countries for the Group’s international expansion and development.
A perfect example is the acquisition of Blue Pod, which is significant because it allows us in Australia to directly oversee all moments of coffee consumption. Locally, 2018 saw growth of 17 per cent with our Blue Pod acquisition. In terms of Australian local numbers, Lavazza Australia is growing in Food Services and Retail channels. Lavazza reported 6.5 per cent growth excluding Blue Pod acquisition
In retail grocery, Lavazza is growing at 8.5 per cent versus 1.9 per cent for the category.
Looking ahead, we see a significant opportunity to continue to grow, with strong investment to support our positioning of being an authentic Italian coffee company through investment in our brand, product innovation, sustainability initiatives and consumer engagement.
Inside FMCG: What are the key sustainability goals for Lavazza?
SZ: This year we will sharpen our focus on sustainability. In terms of products, ¡Tierra! is a Lavazza product range named after the company’s first corporate social responsibility project.
The project is nurtured by the Giuseppe e Pericle Lavazza Foundation, a charitable not-for-profit. Initiated in 2002, ¡Tierra! has become a wider concept of sustainability initiatives with 94,000 direct beneficiaries across three continents and 17 countries for a total of 24 projects.
Lavazza has also decided to embrace the 17 United Nations Sustainability Goals and add our own, Goal Zero, which aims to amplify, promote and make people aware of the message of agenda 2030 in all its facets. In this context, we have set up the project “Toward 2030. What are you doing?” with which Lavazza confirmed its commitment to sustainability and using art as an effective and universal means of communication.
Locally, at this year’s Australian Open we partnered with Melbourne-based recycling company Reground to launch a sustainability initiative that saw the coffee served at the Australian Open from our Lavazza cafés (Grand Slam Oval and Garden Square Café) turned into a valuable resource to help grow local community gardens.
We are also continuing to expand our relationship with TerraCycle to recycle the capsule range.
Inside FMCG: Any new product innovations in the pipeline?
SZ: We have a proud history of innovation – and 2020 will be no exception. After delivering a new range of capsule machines, a locally roasted range in Foodservice and a new range of coffee beans in retail grocery in 2019, we are focussed on continuing to exceed the needs of consumers, particularly the need for premium in-home coffee experiences.
Without being able to give too much away we will bring innovation to market across our Roast and Ground range, Lavazza Blue and A Modo Mio capsule system that leverages against these trends.