Out of the ordinary performance which, with a turnover of 177 million euros (+15 million on 2019), reward the particular commitment made by the company in managing a year lived between closures, uncertainties and social distancing. A growth that of ICAM which confirms also for 2020 the positive trend characterized by 5 consecutive years of success (+ 42 million euros from 2016), built on the strategic choices that have characterized the Lecco company for 75 years, not least the multi-channel , BIO and the ethical approach.
In fact, the year just ended saw the quantity of cocoa beans purchased increase by 4% (24 thousand tons) – 65% of which is made up of BIO cocoa and FairTrade – for a production that involves 3 main business areas: Industry (+ 7% compared to 2019, equal to 45% of the turnover mix), proprietary brands (Vanini, ICAM Professionale and Agostoni) which, due to the difficulties that the Covid-19 pandemic created for the sector, recorded a decrease (reducing the share in the turnover mix from 15% to 12%) and extraordinary growth marked by the Private Label area which recorded a + 19% (increasing the share in the turnover mix from 39% to 43%).
A figure that in hindsight is not surprising at all, if you consider the enormous impact that large-scale distribution has had on the lives of people in Italy and abroad during the months of the most rigid lockdown and the consoling effect for mind and body that the chocolate has on human being. For months, large-scale distribution stores have been the only possible escape valve for millions of people locked up at home, places where they can recover not only basic necessities but also food, such as chocolate, which play an important role in psycho-physical wellbeing.
If in Italy there have been record consumption of flour, yeast and products for the home bakery to satisfy the desire to knead, bread and independently produce pasta, bread, pizza and desserts at home, in countries such as France, England and the United States , where chocolate is considered almost as an essential “safe haven” in the shopping list, a large increase in the consumption of this food was recorded, with particular focus on organic chocolate, a sector that has increasingly developed abroad than in Italy. This trend has also contributed to the strong growth of ICAM exports which at the end of the year stood at + 16% compared to 2019 (bringing the share in the mix of company turnover to 62%). This increase was generally recorded in most of the 69 countries in the world where ICAM sells and distributes chocolate products, especially for this specific business area.
Producing high quality chocolate, according to an ideal of sustainability, which is respectful and fair towards all the actors involved in the supply chain, as well as good for the final consumer. This is the common thread that has always led ICAM to select the countries of origin from which to purchase cocoa, the cooperatives of farmers with whom to establish equal partnerships for the well-being of people and the protection of biodiversity and the territory. ICAM today buys cocoa from 21 different countries of Central America, Latin America and Africa and in most of these countries there are long-term collaboration agreements with the cooperatives present in the area. A commitment that is also replicated within the Italian production plant (in Orsenigo), protagonist over the years of important investments for the purchase of cutting-edge machinery in technological innovation, and in the sustainable choices of materials for packaging, as well as in the objectives of limiting water and electricity consumption.
An ethical approach of the company that has also resulted in proximity to a sector, the professional one made up of pastry chefs, chocolatiers and ice cream makers which, unlike the large-scale retail trade, has been bent over a year characterized by important restrictions and that in order to get up again, it will need maximum support from the institutions also during 2021. A sector in which ICAM has always been present with the semi-finished products of the ICAM Linea Professionale and Agostoni brands, and in which it has recorded a double-digit decline, remaining however alongside professionals through training and free updates of the CHOCOCUBE virtual platform. ONLINE and through tailor made procurement methods to meet individual needs and provide what is necessary to carry out the activity in the time windows in which it was allowed.
“After the outbreak of the health emergency we never expected to end the year with these numbers, says Angelo Agostoni, President of ICAM Chocolate. Results that, despite the dramatic situation that the whole world is experiencing, reward us for the enormous efforts made during this terrible year. A particular thanks for the excellent work done, certainly goes to all the people of ICAM, from the production line operators to the administrative staff, who have always been there, even in the first difficult and uncertain months of the pandemic, company, allowing us to carry on our work and meet deadlines.”