Agro-food business in Lombardy: healthy opportunities for foreign investments

Agro-food is a sector that without doubts gives the opportunity, the possibility of attracting foreign investments and develop the territory at the same time.

Lombardy has a strong leadership in this business: the agro-food is prominent at Italian level and one of the most relevant in the European context.

With 43.7% of the territory covered by agricultural areas, Lombardy is house of 25 Guaranteed Products, such as PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) and PGI (Protected Geographical Indication) products.

Why is such a system so attractive? First of all Milan will host Expo2015 and Lombardy will be on stage for 6 months during a world event focused on food and nutrition. The food industry based in Lombardy will have the occasion to gain visibility and get in touch with new buyers, influencers and consumers. The value of smart and active companies after Expo2015 will certainly increase.

The main reason to make the food industry suitable for healthy FDIs is a structural one: referring to PDOs and PGIs, foreign investors can bring resources, skills and distribution networks, without a danger of delocalization. The simple fact that moving the production would destroy the added value represented by PDOs and PGIs is the reason why the Italian food industry could benefit from foreign investments.

In particular, one of the weak points for this sector is the lack of an Italian modern distribution abroad: UK, France and Germany have important retail chains able to introduce, display and sell national food products all over the world. The Italian modern distribution has never developed a strong presence abroad, the main players as Coop, Conad and Esselunga are still focused on the evolution of the national market and the only exception is Eataly, proposing in New York, Chicago, Dubai, Istanbul and Tokyo mainly delicatessen from Italy.

In Lombardy there are also small brands based on food tradition and innovating at the same time. Oca Sforzesca is an example: the company is still a startup, based on the idea to exploit the old local know-how to transform the goose meat and produce traditional goose salami, 100% made in Lombardy and free from pork. Once, in the past, these products were targeted to the Jewish community and now they are Halal certified and suitable for Muslims, keeping in account the growth of the Halal market.

Lombardy is full of companies like Oca Sforzesca: based on tradition and oriented to innovation, linked to the territory but looking at the global market. The best selection of them will be exhibiting during Tuttofood in Milan, just next to the Expo2015 venue, from 3rd to 6th of May.

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