Italian frozen food manufacturer CGM SRL has a long history of innovation when it comes to products for both frying and baking. We talked to Giuseppino Marinangeli, CEO of CGM SRL, about the company’s strategy in regard to foodservice and retail, and also the impact of the past 2 years on the overall business.
Please discuss CGM’s evolution in the last 12 months in terms of actual results vs expectations. How important was the reopening of foodservice, as CGM has been traditionally focused on that segment?
Giuseppino Marinangeli: After a disastrous 2020 from a commercial point of view, caused by the shutdown of reception areas due to the pandemic problem, from mid-2021, especially after the reopening linked to the COVID problem, there were important and encouraging signs and we have recovered the lost turnover. In fact, in 2020 we have grown by almost 10%, certainly the whole HoReCa segment needed this important signal, to return to live and to the premises. Of course, as the HoReCa world is the driving sector of our sales we have had a massive impulse. Since the beginning of its activity in 1986, CGM has concentrated its sales in the HoReCa segment as from that moment it was the concrete possibility of making our frozen products known in a constantly growing world from the point of view of consumption.
What are CGM’s plans regarding retail? How much interest is there from CGM’s behalf towards that channel?
GM: For CGM, retail has never represented very high volumes. We work with important brands in the gastronomy counters where the product is presented cooked for sale, but in that case the visibility of the brand is lost. For some months we have launched a new line in gr. 200/250 of 8 references purely studied for cooking in the oven, with the idea of proposing the possibility of encouraging the consumption of aperitifs in families. In addition to having attention to the environment, the packages have a QR code printed that periodically gives various and different news on cooking methods, combinations with other products etc.
Please comment on the recent investments CGM has made. What were those mainly aimed at?
GM: Mainly in the last two years the company has invested in the construction of a new production structure, about 4000 square meters reserved for the storage of frozen products, for the packaging with new automated lines and for a cooking line of the products. This expansion, which will become operational before the end of 2022, will allow not only to double the production lines, as the old structure will remain operational, but above all it will guarantee to our customers even greater quality and safety on products, having implemented a series of high-tech equipment.
How does CGM approach themes such as sustainability? Does this require any interventions on the manufacturing process or additional investments?
GM: In regard to the production process, the new structure will be equipped with an important support of solar panels that will allow to use electricity to a minimum. Being in an area strictly exposed to the sun, we are studying new packaging and packaging that can be recycled or compostable, for easy waste management both in catering and above all in domestic consumption.
What are your current expansion plans?
GM: Productively we have already talked about the news, for the commercial discourse we are interested in strengthening the GDO market and above all the foreign markets, from where the important growth in turnover for the company will come. New markets and new areas such as the United Arab Emirates, United States and South America, CGM’s participation in the SIAL international fair in Paris will also be important in October.
How would you assess the state of the industry overall, taking into account regional tensions and rising costs for raw materials and fuel?
GM: At the level of work as a post-COVID recovery we are at excellent levels, the HoReCa sector is recovering the drop in turnover of the last two years. What certainly aggravates the situation is the sharp increase in almost all raw materials and the scarcity of finding some references on the market, certainly behind us we also find a lot of speculation, for the moment the sales are more than satisfactory, but I think there will be critical issues from next September / October if above all the costs of energy and diesel are not lowered. The situation is certainly not simple in our sector, for many years the price increases were linked to occasional situations, and currently it seems like a fashion to change prices even on a weekly basis. We all hope to stop this trend and work with the stability necessary for the development of turnover.