Luca Barbieri is our Regional Sales Manager for Italy, Eastern Europe and Russia. We talked to him about his experiences in the food industry, the Kemin way of working and the importance of technical expertise for a brand like Kemin.
Name: Luca Barbieri
Job title: Regional Sales Manager Italy, Eastern Europe and Russia.
Years of service @ Kemin: 4 years
Focus market segment: processed meat and poultry
Can you tell us about yourself and your professional experience?
Luca: I’m an Italian food technologist with over twenty years of experience in the food industry. I have worked for large international food companies in several different countries ever since I got my Master’s degree. I have a lot of experience in technical sales, fine foods, export and general management. Since I was active in the Baltic States and Russia for more than eight years, it should come as no surprise that I focus on those markets now. And Italy, of course.
What do you like about Kemin?
Luca: Kemin is a global company with an innovative mindset. We can easily exchange ideas from one part of the world to another, which is inspiring! New projects are constantly being set up and I love the challenge of bringing them to a good end. You could say I am as much a sales manager as I am a project manager. Moreover, as we are active all over the world, we have a global view on food trends and needs and we have the ability and people to speed-up local projects. We think globally and we act locally, so you can say a very "gocal" approach.
And what about Kemin’s products?
Luca: Kemin develops and produces technical food products. We offer clean label innovations that keep meat, poultry, sauces, margarines, oils and dairy products safe, delicious and fresh during the entire shelf life. I like the importance of technical knowledge and experience in the sales process of our ingredients. There’s a lot of R&D involved. The details really make the difference in our business.
Technical knowledge is essential. But I suppose market knowledge is equally important?
Luca: Absolutely. That’s why I travel a lot! I’m abroad for about a week and a half per month. Italy, of course, has a great food tradition. People like fresh and natural quality food that looks good. They don’t trust food with an extremely long shelf life. That’s not what Italian cuisine stands for. As food is deeply rooted in our culture, the market will not quickly change.
It’s a big difference with Russia, a food market I also know very well. The growth potential in that area is enormous for a company like Kemin. Especially in cities like Moscow, where we notice an increasing demand for clean label products and ready-to-eat meals. This new development of eating habits means Russian people accept a longer shelf life than Italians. Another difference between both countries: while our Italian customers are mainly family businesses, we work for large food companies in Russia.
Besides Italy and Russia, I’m also responsible for Eastern Europe in collaboration with Local Technical Sales Manager Anna Kosewska who works from Poland.
Has the coronavirus affected Kemin?
Yes. We had great sales. Suddenly, people started hoarding globally. Our customers had to produce more to avoid empty shelves. Since we continued to work, we were able to provide and deliver everything our customers needed. Great teamwork, again.
People suddenly realised the importance of fresh and safe food. Food in the supermarket became even more important for families to eat at home in this uncertain period. They want fresh and safe food containing label-friendly ingredients to enjoy a nice meal. Kemin is proud to support food companies producing this increased demand of food for retail.
Last question: what’s your favourite Kemin product?
NaturFORT. It’s a versatile combination consisting of rosemary and green tea extracts that complement each other. It provides superior protection with a positive impact on flavour, colour and odour. It’s also a very technical product that is unique in the market. It’s a product that really makes a difference!