The coffee market in India has caught the attention of who’s who of the industry. Already present in the country for more than 5 years through Barista, Lavazza group has made its foray with its exclusive Expression outlets in the country. We get in touch with Attillio Capuano, Asia & Pacific Director, Lavazza and ask him about the brand and its history.
Aadeetya Sriram (AS): What are the reasons for Lavazza entering India on its own?
Attillio Capuano (AC): Over the last 4 years, Lavazza has been in the process of consolidating its presence in the Indian market and now it intends to enhance its position in a highly dynamic market like India. Lavazza coffee shop business supports are overall business strategy in India to raise the profile of the company and reach out to our target customers. Lavazza Experience is made up of ambience, quality and excellence, which has been strategized into Lavazza Expressions, available across 30 outlets and now in India. Other than Delhi, we will be opening up further outlets in key metros across the country. Lavazza Expression is all about innovation, design and creativity, bringing the European culture to Indian audience. We are visible across all formats around the globe; be it high-street, malls, international airports for image and quality of the company.
AS: What is the idea behind Lavazza Expressions, is the format uniform across the globe?
AC: The reason behind Expressions was the brand getting into deeper sense of international business. If you look at the Italian model, we never felt the need of having a coffee chain because in Italy Lavazza is truly represented in many so-called café bars. The moment we stepped out in the international markets, the concept of coffee and expresso totally changed for us and hence the concept of global coffee shops was introduced. When I say we are using the same format in every single country wherever we are present with Lavazza, we incorporate the different cultures for the respective market without tweaking without philosophy. So what we are going to is offer common base of everything but we will serve specific recipes suiting their needs and tastes. For e.g. in the Anglo-Saxon and Asia, the milk consumption is high, which has made it mandatory for us to build recipe that suit the palate.
AS: With regards to Lavazza’s acquisition of Barista, how much have you invested in the Indian market?
AC: Since 2007, when we started in the country and made major acquisition with Barista, we have invested around 100 million Euros which includes the budget for new plant located down south slated to be operational in 7-8 months time also any expansions happening within the Lavazza expressions and Barista outlets in the country.
AS: How varied is the product offering compared to Barista and who is you targeted consumer?
AC: The products made available at Lavazza Expressions will be comparatively higher to what we offer at Barista, considering the fact that Barista is more for the generic consumer base, whereas the Expressions is a concept which will be cherished by the coffee and art enthusiasts. The food recipes will also be available in a wider range.
AS: How do you perceive the Indian coffee market, where is it moving?
AC: The Indian coffee market is huge and open, just to give you an idea, India’s capacity per capita consumption of coffee is 60 gms whereas Italy’s is 5kg. Also the preference towards cold offerings is also picking up; the market is still at an infant stage so the competition within brands can only be beneficial to the market. One cannot determine the size of the coffee market with the no. of shops being visible in the country, which is only one of the aspects for gauging the market. The consumption of coffee has definitely improved compared to 90’s but still it has a long way to go to catch up with the best in the world.
AS: Your expansion plans for Lavazza in the country?
AC: Out major investment in the country is going to be for the coffee-processing plant, after that we will be focusing on entering in the retail space. The equipment and technology being implemented in the plant will be of the highest standard and we have realized that India has the raw materials to become a major coffee producer but the processing is where Lavazza will provide its Italian expertise. We will work on making sure that the coffee being served up in our outlets are processed and ready to be used in homes, offices etc. Lavazza was introduced 4 years back and now is present across through 30 cities around the globe. In India we plan to have 3 expression outlets in the next 2 years, these we will be positioned in Mumbai and Bangalore.