04 Feb Interview with Andrea Chiaramello, Head of Lavazza Canada
Canada is a leading coffee market. Indeed, Canadians are among the biggest coffee drinkers in the world. Adults consume even more of it than tap water! According to the Coffee Association of Canada, two-thirds of Canadians drink at least one cup of coffee per day, averaging 3.2 cups / day (2018).
To talk about Italian coffee and opportunities in Canada, we met Andrea Chiaramello, Head of Lavazza Canada, one of the best-known Italian brands in the coffee industry that is growing double-digit in Canada and continues its strategy of expansion abroad.
Lavazza is one of the main Italian coffee brands. Since 1895, the year in which the founder, Luigi Lavazza, opened the first Lavazza Drogheria in via San Tommaso, Turin, Lavazza has conquered consumers all over the world and is now present in over 140 countries. 10 factories, 3 of which in Italy, over 4,000 collaborators and 50 training centers around the world.
In 2019, the Lavazza Group recorded € 2.2 billion in revenues, + 18% compared to 2018, 70% of which is achieved abroad. Growth has also accelerated in North America and in particular in the Canadian market, not only by strengthening the brand and boasting double-digit growth in recent years, but also with an acquisition strategy, as happened with the Canadian Kicking Horse. (Canadian company leader in the organic and fair trade coffee segment of which Lavazza acquired 80% of the capital in 2017).
Within the framework of Lavazza’s internationalization strategy, the presence in Canada seems to play an important role, is that right?
Of course! Canada is certainly a market of great interest for the growth of our company, the investments and acquisitions made by our group in this country prove it.
In fact, the high per capita consumption of coffee, the strong demographic growth of recent years and that forecast for the future, certainly make Canada so important to our growth ambitions.
The acquisition of Kicking Horse was a great success for the Lavazza Group. Thanks to it, we have added a range of very important products to our offer in North America: Kicking Horse products are in full harmony with the most significant trends and are also aimed at a new range of consumers for us.
Do Canadians like Italian coffee? What trends and product characteristics are Canadian coffee consumers aware of?
Italian coffee is undoubtedly a great success in Canada, not only Canadians are big consumers of coffee but they also appreciate quality coffee.
In terms of preparation methods, despite the strong growth of espresso coffee, this market is characterized by a strong preference for the preparation of filter coffee, in fact over 70% of consumption belongs to this category.
Another rapidly growing trend is that of organic coffee which in recent years has appeared on Canadian shelves and has conquered a rather significant slice of the market.
The Canadian consumer is very demanding and attentive to purchases, without any doubt it is necessary to offer this market a dedicated offer, both in terms of products and both in terms of communication and marketing.
2020 marked a setback in all sectors but in particular those related to consumer products in social relations. We think of the coffees administered in bars, restaurants and distributors in the office. What happened and how did you deal with this situation in reference to the foreign market and in particular to the presence in Canada?
Without a doubt, 2020 will be a year we will talk about a lot in the years to come. The impact of what has happened and what is happening will leave very deep marks in many areas, including certainly in that related to catering, tourism and hospitality entrepreneurship.
Even our work habits have been overwhelmed by very important changes that have seen us physically move away and separate from offices and in-person meetings. Obviously these changes in these sectors have implied the collapse of coffee consumption that was taking place in these areas.
Fortunately, what happened did not change the eating habits of consumers, who found themselves consuming their coffee at home instead of at the bar, restaurant or office. It was therefore a question of having to manage a rapid shift in the consumption channel, a real logistical challenge against time, also given the geographical distance of Canada from our Italian production sites. We were able to react quickly and meet new market needs.
Furthermore, in recent months we have prepared ourselves in such a way as to be able to offer a better service to our customers and partners in the catering and office sector for the restart of the business in these sectors.
Source: Coffee Association of Canada
Does Lavazza have any surprises for the Canadian consumer attentive to Italian food excellence?
Creating innovation and bringing news to our consumers is among the company’s priorities. In recent years in Canada we have opened new categories and brought dozens of new products to the market, some of which have met with great feedback from consumers and achieved great successes, such as our organic products.
2021 will see the further expansion of this category with new products. Our R&D department is working on the many innovations, some of which are specific for the Canadian market, which will be brought to the market starting from 2022.
* Cover image – source: @lavazzaca (detail)
Also read >>
Interview with Matteo Picariello, director of ICE – Agency for Canada