Pizza Industry Meets at Milano Fiera

Milan,18 November 2010 – In a market where “dining out at home” is undergoing profound
changes, expectations and tastes of the clientèle are fast forwarding and competition is getting
tougher.

To keep abreast of the times the pizza industry itself is increasingly adopting the marketing spirit.

Pizza still remains perceived too often as the usual, traditional and all too predictable fare, no
different wherever you are in Italy. It appears as an endangered species giving way to locales
that increasingly emphasize fun and fizz where the purchase and consumption experience must
generate thrills, gratification and should excite all the senses from an aesthetic standpoint.

Not only the pizzeria must change. The pizza-maker himself as homespun figure must change too.
Behind the professional artisan who works up front at the oven and who guarantees the quality of
the product in terms of baking, levitation and production, there is the manager of the pizza parlour
or locale who is increasingly called upon to develop his role as entrepreneur and be both manager
and communicator of his business, shedding improvisation for qualification.

The solutions to such changes are to be found in continuing learning, the creation of a new type
of relations with customers and, above and beyond, superior product quality. What once was the
typical “fare of the poor” must acquire the status of desirability, using choice ingredients.

All of this was debated in Italy at Fiera Milano, on 25 October, in the occasion of A.B. Tech Pizza
Expo, the show dedicated to products and technology for pizza, during a forum on Pizzeria in
Future: Where Tradition and Management Blend, moderated by the italian journalist Beppe
Francese and featuring speakers like Giulia Romana Erba, Survey Office of the Italian Federation
of Commercial Outlets (F.I.P.E), architect Gianpietro Sacchi, Nicola Ticozzi, director of the
Design Experience courses at POLI.design, and Emanuele Ceccarelli, a famed Italian analyst of
the sector.

The central issue of the forum was the evolution of the world of pizza and of the figure of the
pizzeria owner in a market characterized nowadays by a drop in consumption and a global
reconfiguration of patterns.

THE FINDINGS OF F.I.P.E: HOW TO CHANGE CONSUMPTION PATTERNS
Even though, according to a survey conducted by the FIPE, there are more pizzerias that wind up
than that open up (-2000 pizzerias in 2009), the pizza market in Italy remains steadfast and, in the
restauration industry, is still the least affected by the economic crisis.

In order to hold that course steady, however, it is of the essence for professionals of the trade to
realise that consumers are changing their culinary and dining set of values and styles, in particular
when eating out. Eating in itself becomes less important than once and more money is spent on
other things and to satisfy other needs.
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Quality is no longer what first and essentially entices consumers to go to a pizzeria. The quality
of hygiene and service weigh more than they once did. Clients care more about the looks of the
locale, its cleanliness, the kindness of the manager and seek some kind of entertainment.

EUROPEAN INSTITUTE OF ITALIAN PIZZA: THE FIGURES SHOW RESILIENCE OF THE
SECTOR
The overview offered by Emanuele Ceccarelli, from the European Institute of Italian Pizza,
confirms that the pizza sector is the one that shows most resilience to the drop in consumption.

The average Italian consumes 7.6 kg of pizza per year, ranking second right behind the Americans
and Italy has 25,300 classical pizzerias operating (exclusive, therefore, of takeaways and delivery
parlours, that amount to an additional 26,700). The industry employs 87,316 people (on average
3,8 per outlet) and revenues amount to €6,950 million. Standard pizzerias themselves account for
40% of Italian restauration. The overall activity of the industry, inclusive of non-classical pizzerias
and industrial production, revenues soar nearly threefold to €16,630.
Nonetheless, standard pizzerias are increasingly battered by the steady growth of frozen pizzas
sold by modern retail.
To turn the tide round and reposition in the market, it is crucial to focus on some key issues such
as the quality of homespun traditional pizza, the extension to takeaways, greater attention to the
locale proper and to services as value added.

PIZZERIA IN FUTURE: TAKING CARE OF THE LOCALE
Caring for the locale proper and its cachet are at the centre of the proposals contained in the
programme of courses FOOD EXPERIENCE DESIGN, organized by POLI.Design – Consortium of
the Polytechnics of Milan.

Pizzerias in future, pointed out Mr Ticozzi in his speech, are based on projects that seem futuristic
but that are easily doable already. They open up on new ways of conceiving consumption patterns
and are inspired by the desire to captivate clients and turn dining out into something more than a
gourmet experience that reaches out to emotions and feelings. Meal times are increasingly sought
for entertainment experiences generating gratification and distraction, rather than just for the
satisfaction of a need.

Pizzerias, in particular in large cities, are changing. From hum-drum, predictable and musty
symbols of tradition, and with the help of architects, they are turning into places with an
atmosphere and ambience created by select design and furniture, shaping up settings and layouts
that appeal to the eye. Such projects are also multifunctional, blending aperitif corners with
pizzeria and lounge for after dinner. By the same token, locales tend to increase in size to ensure
multifunctionality.

A LICENCE FOR PIZZA MAKERS?
After the forum that examined the current situation of the market in terms of figures and trends,
a roundtable on The Managerial Spirit as Ingredient to Success, moderated by Giuseppe
Rotolo (editor of the Italian publication Pizza & Core), and featuring Angelo Iezzi, Italian Pizzerias
Association (API) President; Angelo Petrone, Pizza Arte President; Enrico Famà, editor-in-
chief of the publication Pizza e Pasta Italiana; Renato Andrenelli, President of the Association of
Pizza Makers from Marche Region (APM), Antonio Primiceri, APES President and Mariateresa
Bandera, APES General Secretary.

The roundtable brought together in a lively debate the presidents of associations of the trade,
opinion makers, analysts and players of the industry, and also listened to the views and opinions of
numerous pizza makers and pizzeria managers.

From the discussion the consensus emerged that both pizza makers and managers – who, as the
case may be, are sometimes distinct persons or are two in one – should have a higher education
schooling. In particular, the manager of the locale should have an entrepreneurial spirit and should
be fully informed about how to run a business. Such knowledge would help him penetrate further
the market, particularly in view of the current economic slump.

Pizzeria managers should be fully aware of the stiff competition of evening locales, restaurants and
bars that also serve pizzas. They need to know marketing, as well as the arcane of bureaucracy
and the way the market works. Knowing the art of baking good pizzas is not enough, important
though it is that the fine lore of gourmet cuisine be always first rate, to uphold the standards of
product quality.

But who should supervise the education of future pizza makers?

Among the many issues examined, participants dedicated ample time to the law decree tabled
by Senator Rosario Giorgio Costa with regard to the “European Pizza-maker Licence”, a true and
proper exam complete with tests on both theory and practice, to assess the professional capacity
and competence of the pizza maker by verifying his knowledge in food and ingredient science,
hygiene and preparation.
There was a consensus on the crucial problem of the necessity to define the standards to select
teachers and instructors truly capable of providing value added to the profession and prove
adept at practical skills that would avoid such learning programme from being too abstract and
theoretical in its approach.

The European Pizza Licence bill being discussed in Parliament appoints only one association
to run the learning programmes accredited by the ministry. The participants at the roundtable,
instead, would rather have pizza makers (like for chefs) get their professional status through the
ministerial courses of the Hospitality Institute of Italy. Such procedure would guarantee a straight
and thorough education to the young and would upgrade the qualification of the profession itself,
both in terms of technical skills and remuneration, as pizza makers stand today, more often than
not, low on the social scale and are unprotected.