Oscar Farinetti, the poet of Eataly

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His passion and resourcefulness have enriched his native land: after the great success of “UniEuro”, he started the project which valorise the “other foods” all over the world.

Ability to communicate and to express himself with a smile. This is Oscar Farinetti, the founder of “Eataly”. Before to start his passionate food project, he worked in electronics, in fact he founded the specialised chain shops “Unieuro”, which was sold in 2003 to the “Dixons Retail” public company, located in Hemel Hempstead (United Kingdom). In 2004 he started a new adventure, founding the food chain “Eataly” which have become a symbol of excellences. Farinetti collaborated also with the Bocconi University of Milan and the University of Parma for important market researches. It has also been elected CEO of the “Alfetra”  pasta factory of Gragnano, in the province of Napoli and he helped its restoration. «I was lucky enough to be born in Alba» he declared «It was a real lucky. I was born on 24th September during the harvesting, my father was a partisan and an entrepreneur of Barbaresco and my mom was a tireless worker from Barolo. This place is witness of an extraordinary history. Here were born many people who fought during the Resistance for our freedom. And here lived also people like Camillo Benso, count of Cavour, and, more recently, Giacomo Morra, Carlin Pietrini, Bruno Ceretto, Angelo Gaja, but also the Miroglio and the Ferrero families who gave so much to this territory».

A passion for food that comes from far away…

“My father had many supermarkets, a pasta factory and a coffee roasting workshop. When I was 24 years old, in 1978, I went to work with him, he had just transformed a supermarket on an innovative hypermarket, one of the first in Italy.». Then, Farinetti left and started the “Eataly” adventure, «it was founded to fil a gap; the lack of information about food, the most important element which we introduce every day in our body. A statistic tells that only one third of the population knows the difference between hard and soft grain, instead two third knows what the Abs is…”.

“Eataly” offers many news, but it has a fundamental base: the attention to the quality. Eat well is a matter of culture and the direct and clear communication has always been the philosophy of this company. Food is a passion before to be a work: so every time you enter in one of these shops you can touch the philosophy of each producers and taste the quality. “Eataly” is famous at international level, it counts 38 seats, 16 of those located outside Italy (Europe, Japan, USA and Emirates) and it is routing also the quality of the French production. «Thanks to Eataly we have destroyed them because we cover a new sector, which is authoritarian and informal at the same time. They gone mad and so they are trying to imitate our project: in fact they opened “District” in New York, that have been inspired at 100% to “Eataly”. but it doesn’t work. Why not? Because their cuisine has been created specifically by chefs and so it is very technical, our recipes have been invented by our great-grandmothers for Sunday lunch. The Italian cuisine is for all: you to at “Eataly” you taste spaghetti and you can buy the Gragnano ones along with the extra virgin oil, Parmigiano Reggiano, San Marzano and the next day you make an encore at your own. If you eat “foi gras” you can only buy it prepared by a chef or you can only beat your head against the wall”.

Think local and do it global

“We at “Eataly” did it at “Fico Eataly World” in Bologna in 2017” – he explains – “to valorise the Italian biodiversity”. “Fico (acronym for Fabbrica Italiana Contadina) Eataly World” is a project that represents Oscar Farinetti’s philosophy because it is fancy and creative exactly as his inventor: with s surface 50-100 times larger than a normal point of sale and it has been  enriched with new elements such as the bicycles you can rent free to explore the area.  In the pavilions there are many open labs where people can learn curiosities about food and taste it. At “Fico” you go not only to taste excellent food as in many other food kermesse, you go to have an authentic “food experience” to tell to your friends and to remember!

Fontanafredda, heart, roots and… 160 years of history

The historical winery of Serralunga d’Alba today is part of the empire managed by Oscar Farinetti, who bought it from the Monte dei Paschi di Siena in 2007. Fontanafredda is on the market with 8 million bottles every year, it exports 50% of them proposing Barolo and many other important Langhe wines. The centre of production extends up to Serralunga d’Alba and it counts about 78 hectares for the wine production and it includes also the Barbera. 

“Our company is great, we want to act as a small company, we want to improve playing as a small team. In 2018 we realised the first harvesting totally biological. Our wine is called “Libero” (free) because it is better than “biological” that sounds a bit medical…Abroad people started to signal non-biological wines and soon It will happen also in Italy, so we started before to get advantage. Today biological wines are extraordinary and we think ours are too”.

In the universe of the Farinetti family there is not only Fontanafredda, but also Borgogno, which does not need presentations: it has always been a symbol of the most traditional Barolo wines, able to surprise the palates also after many years after the harvesting.

Off to young people…

“About two years ago I left to my sons the family shares, it is about 60%, and from many months that I did not operate in “Eataly”. I scrapped myself: I attend conferences, but the management is under the lead of my sons who are very clever”. Francesco and Nicola, helped by the business partner Luca Baffigo Filangieri and the executive president Andrea Guerra, along with the company shared divided among the three heirs (the third brother, Andrea is councillor of “Eataly”) manage “Eataly”. Oscar Farinetti is still the President and the second shareholder with 17,87% of “Eataly Real Estat, “Eataly Distribuzione” (the joint venture with Coop 3.0 and Coop Liguria), “Eataly Vini”and“Eatinerari”. Moreover he is also the honorary president of “Eataly World” and he covers important positions in the board of directions in other companies of the group.

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Oscar Farinetti