Barilla Group

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Barilla S.p.A.
Type Private (family-owned)
Industry Food Processing
Founded 1877
Founders Pietro Barilla
Headquarters Parma, Italy
Area served Worldwide
Key people Guido Maria Barilla (Chairman), Luca Barilla and Paolo Barilla (Deputy Chairmen)
Products Pasta, Ready-made sauces, Bakery products as biscuits, toasted bread, cereals, snacks, pastries, soft bread, brioches, power snacks, cakes and crisp bread.
Revenue Increase 3.9 billion (2010)
Employees 14,043 (2010)
Divisions 20 brands
Website www.barillagroup.com

Barilla S.p.A. (Barilla G. e R. Fratelli Società per Azioni) is an Italian and European food company.

Overview[edit]

The company was founded in 1877 in Ponte Taro, near Parma, Italy by Pietro Barilla. The company is privately held, and remains in the fourth generation of Barilla family ownership and control through three brothers, Chairman Guido Barilla, and Vice Chairmen Luca Barilla and Paolo Barilla.

Barilla group controls Barilla (multinational pasta maker), Mulino Bianco, Pavesi, Voiello, Alixir and Academia Barilla (Italy), Wasabröd (Sweden), Misko (Greece), Filiz (Turkey), Yemina and Vesta (Mexico) trademarks.

The group produces several kinds of pasta and it is the world's leading pasta maker with 40-45% of the Italian market and 25% of the US market.[1] It produces pasta in over 120 shapes and sizes. Barilla brand pasta is sold in numerous restaurants worldwide, such as those belonging to the Pastamania chain.[2] It is also the leading seller of bakery products in Italy. Through its acquisition of the Swedish company Wasa, it is the world's leading producer of flatbread (a Scandinavian staple), selling 60,000 tons annually.[3]

Barilla Group has several production plants all over the world: in Italy, Greece, France, Germany, Norway, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, the United States (in Ames, Iowa and Avon, New York), and Mexico. The company also operates mills in Italy, Greece, Sweden, Turkey, and the US. While its central office is in Parma, Italy, it has corporate offices in several other countries as well, such as Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the US, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, and Japan. Barilla's Italian production facilities are located at Parma, Foggia, Marcianise, Castiglione delle Stiviere, Cremona, Melfi, Rubbiano, Novara, and Ascoli Piceno.[4] Its plant in Greece (near Thiva) is the third largest in Europe.[5] The plant where the pasta was made is noted on the packaging by a code letter,[6] whereas products made in Italy are explicitly labeled as such.[7] The wheat used to make the final product is purchased from around the world.[7]

The company sponsors Italian race car driver Alex Zanardi.[8]

Controversy[edit]

On September 25, 2013 in an interview given to La Zanzara Radio24, answering a question regarding his company's lack of advertising involving gay families, Guido Barilla made the following comment (Translation from Huffington Post):

"We have a slightly different culture, for us, the 'sacral family' remains one of the company’s core values. Our family is a traditional family. If gays like our pasta and our advertisings, they will eat our pasta; if they don’t like that, they will eat someone else’s pasta. You can’t always please everyone not to displease anyone. I would not do a commercial with a homosexual family, not for lack of respect toward homosexuals – who have the right to do whatever they want without disturbing others – but because I don’t agree with them, and I think we want to talk to traditional families. The women are crucial in this." He also stated that, while he has respect for gay marriage, "I have no respect for adoption by gay families because this concerns a person who is not able to choose." [9]

Soon after the comments were made, many people took to Twitter and started calling for a boycott against Barilla products.[10] Alessandro Zan, a gay rights campaigner and MP in the left-wing Sel (Sinistra Ecologia Libertà) party, said as a result of the speech he would be boycotting Barilla products and called on other parliamentarians to follow his example.[11] The chairman of Equality Italia, Aurelio Mancuso, accused Barilla of being deliberately provocative, and added: "Accepting the invitation of Barilla's owner to not eat his pasta, we are launching a boycott campaign against all his products."[12]

Guido later apologized by saying, “I apologize if my words generated misunderstandings or arguments, or if they offended the sensibilities of some people. In the interview I simply wished to underline the central role the woman plays within the family.”[11]

Despite the statements of support for Barilla by such organizations within Italy as the parents movement MOIGE (Movimento Italiano Genitori),[13] and apparent support from the Italian politician Eugenia Roccella,[14] the calls for boycott continued, and Barilla agreed to meet with gay rights advocates to try to calm the controversy.[15] The British newspaper The Guardian reported on 29 September 2013 that the rival Bertolli group was taking advantage of Barilla's perceived homophobia, stating, "Bertolli welcomes everyone, especially those with an empty stomach".[16]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Big portions: America's role in the rise of the world's biggest pasta-maker, The Economist, Jun 21st 2007
  2. ^ "Unleashing the 'Mania' - 7 million plates of pasta sold... and counting!". Asia Franchise & Business Opportunities (April - June 2008). 
  3. ^ Wasa official website
  4. ^ Official website, In the world
  5. ^ Misko Careers
  6. ^ Information from Barilla Spaghetti n.5 packaging
  7. ^ a b Official website, FAQ
  8. ^ Rachel Cohen, Amputee race car driver Alex Zanardi to compete in NYC Marathon in handcycle category, USA Today, 11/1/2007
  9. ^ Cavan Sieczkowski (26 September 2013). "Barilla Pasta Won't Feature Gay Families In Ads, Says Critics Can 'Eat Another Brand Of Pasta'". Huffington Post. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "Italian pasta brand Barilla in gay advert row". BBC News. 26 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  11. ^ a b Sara C Nelson (26 September 2013). "Guido Barilla, Pasta Chairman, Faces Backlash Over Anti-Gay Comments". Huffington Post (UK). Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  12. ^ Lizzy Davies (26 September 2013). "Pasta firm Barilla boycotted over 'classic family' remarks". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  13. ^ "Pasta la vista - is Barilla wrong about Italian families?". Channel 4 News. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  14. ^ ""Barilla coraggioso", Roccella lo difende". L'Occidentale. 27 September 2013. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  15. ^ "Italian Gay Activists Boycott Top Pasta Maker". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  16. ^ VcVeigh, Trevor (29 September 2013). "Pasta-maker in hot water as rival posts pro-gay imagery on social media". The Observer. 

External links[edit]