We are proud to see among the young disruptors recognized by Forbes Italia in its annual “100 Under 30” list, two ESCP Alumni: Matteo Frescobaldi, Brand Manager of Laudemio Frescobaldi, in the Food and Drink category, and Romolo Ganzerli, cofounder of MammaPack, in the Retail category.
The former has been selected as one of the young talents who are leading the way in the food and beverage sector.
Matteo, Master in European Business alumnus, class of 2012, is the youngest member of the thirtieth generation of Marchesi de Frescobaldi, a family firm with seven hundred years of history. The Frescobaldi family began producing fine wines and olive oil in 1307 in Tuscany. Matteo, in charge of the family’s olive oil business since 2018, is bringing his new and disruptive view to the firm, by combining his company’s traditions and centuries of experience with innovation and creativity.
So, here’s our interview with him.
First of all, congrats on this great achievement. What was the first thing that went through your mind when you heard that you were among the 100 under 30 selected by Forbes Italy?
I was very surprised and of course honored. At the same time, I also felt that was not an achievement only for myself, but also for our family and company, that gave me the opportunity in the first place to study and have this career, so I thought that I should use this great privilege as motivation to always do better in my work and life in general and to continue to improve our family business.
You come from one of the oldest family firms in the world, what is the secret of Frescobaldi’s longevity?
There are many variables that one could mention to answer this question, however, I believe that the upbringing is the most important factor. We are all taught the importance of family harmony and union, and that because we are part of the family we must lead by example (to be kind, polite, hardworking, honest, etc.), and ultimately that our heritage is not something that we own, but rather something that we manage and we must continue to do so as best we can for the generations to come.
Laudemio Frescobaldi has received a lot of recognition in the last few years. What makes your product so unique?
Firstly, its origin. Our Laudemio comes from our olive trees, located on hills at 200 – 500 meters of altitude around Florence, in Tuscany. We were the first to apply the concept of “Terroir” that is well affirmed in the wine industry, to the olive oil industry as well, so its great taste originates from the land and microclimate where our olive trees are located. Then, of course, the best production standards must be applied: harvesting at the right moment in the ripening phase of the olives, milling the olives within a few hours after they are harvested in a modern, technological olive press, and ultimately a careful selection of the olive oil produced where only the finest becomes Laudemio Frescobaldi.
Frescobaldi is committed to sustainability and social responsibility. What best practice do you apply to your company?
Frescobaldi, as a group, uses certified, sustainable farming techniques and as our estates include many hectares of woods, we also have certified sustainable management of the forests. In terms of energy consumption, we have our own green energy production using solar panels and a pyrolysis power plant fueled with the wood from our own sustainable forests. With regards to corporate social responsibility, Frescobaldi has launched a fascinating project: Gorgona. Gorgona is the last prison island of Europe, and it is in the Tuscan part of the Mediterranean Sea. We have partnered with the prison to make wine with the prisoners on the island, they are given a salary, taught a job and we commit to hiring them at the end of their sentence.
In what way did what you learned at ESCP help you to achieve your goals?
During the programme we often had very interesting guest speakers who were very stimulating and motivated us to work towards successful careers like theirs. I believe that this is a great opportunity for students. Then, during all our courses we were loaded with tasks and assessments, and we were taught to analyze the circumstances and prioritize accordingly. In real life this is probably the most important thing that I learnt. We never have time to do all the things that we would like to do and how we would like to do them. So identifying the most important objectives and prioritizing what to do and how much time and effort to invest in each project, I believe are the most important things to succeed in business and as well as life.
What is your view on the future trends of the F&B sector?
The major trend is “premiumization”. In each category of the food sector consumers seek more agricultural and/or artisanal products, which ultimately means more “gourmet”. Over the centuries the food industry has struggled with mass production in order to supply food everywhere to everyone. Today consumers don’t just want an “olive oil” they want a fine olive oil, they want to know where and how it is made, and (why not) they also want a nice packaging. Beauty has a part in this: a good product must be beautiful and beautiful products must be good.
What's next for you?
We made a long-term business plan in 2017 to increase our olive oil production, which I began to implement in 2018, so for now I still have a long way to go with this project. We will be planting new olive groves, modernizing and expanding our olive production facility, and increasing the international distribution of the Laudemio Frescobaldi.
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