The Umbrian company creates dry food for dogs and cats on behalf of third parties: products customized and exported around the world – Interview with the President and the CEO of BeFood: George Scassini and Fabio Bernini
A start-up born a few years ago that immediately attracted customer attention. Before asking the recipes of your products, what is the ingredient for your business success?
«Never be distorted in the practice the philosophy of intentions: that is to focus unconditionally on quality, with premium and super-premium products of excellence. Made with fresh meat, quality ingredients and fortified with Naturalial supplements for the development of good health and to ensure increased digestibility. To go beyond the simple feed of dogs and cats, and to think first of the welfare of our four-legged friends. This is why, rather than feed, I prefer to speak of food, of nutrition. The search for the best is the key, uniting the supply chain to the international calling».
Two compatible aspects?
«Certainly. On one side is the land with all of its resources and opportunities, serious suppliers who personally inspect. Obviously not all raw materials can be taken from “0 km”, but where possible – such as cereals – we do it. We have created a network of farmers we trust,
who already undergo rigid controls in the storage phase. No sparing upstream, as the process functions like a funnel: if you put in high-quality ingredients, produced with the best technology, a great product will come of it. And with this we come to the second dimension, the internationalization of Befood»
Because the quality of making a difference is also in the food industry for pets?
«Exactly: we now have around 50 customers and we export to 18 countries around the world, as far as China. Exports account for 10% in value and is a developing asset. But we would not have come this far without having seen how things worked in the complex food supply chain for animals…».
Let’s take a step back, then: president tell us something of your story..
«I am an agricultural entrepreneur (Farms and agricultural businesses) and have worked in the pet industry since 1988. Slowly I developed the idea of having an owned establishment producing quality Foods and to use firsthand the know-how accumulated from around the world».
And how did the project take shape?
«I catalyzed a group of entrepreneurs and focused on a plan of rural development. Precious funding for companies that wanted to create added value: we were the first to discover this opportunity. The added value lies in the enhancement of the environment, of the people, as well as creating wealth».
But the manufacturers seen around Europe, what did they have – and what do they have – less than you?
«Look, I do not want to spread propaganda or speak ill of anyone. To simplify I only say that in many trips before the realization of our establishment along with the general manager of BeFood, Fabio Bernini, we often found ourselves faced with proposals of dry rigid feed, standardized, the same for all».
What does this mean?
«Essentially, a pre-packaged product was proposed, biscuits already beautiful and ready without any possibility to adapt them to the needs of the
customers. In this way, all brands have the same solution, a complete type-approval».
Because, director, there are other possibilities?
«That is precisely the point. We have reversed the reasoning: we start with a blank sheet of paper and it is not just a saying. We listen to the needs of those in front of us, interpreting, so it passes into action with an exclusive customization. Also for this reason we have developed over 135 recipes. Products specific for each breed, size, age, function, etc. …. ».
Here, we speak of the customer: how is your service structured?
«On many levels: production, packaging, marketing and logistics. Because each aspect is important and gets recognized. Being understood that the content of the food is the most important thing, because it ends up in the belly of the animals, it is obvious that the frame in which you insert the product does not have a marginal role. You must choose the materials, the colors, the most correct claims, focusing on effective communication strategy».
And what you can offer more than the current competitors?
«Befood is a company that invests a lot. We focus on technology with facilities of the latest generation. From systems of grinding and storage to those of drying, to the automated management of the processes to programs of product packaging. Even here we repeat the union: there are excellent umbrian companies alongside great american and german producers. But at the base of our work there are people with their passion: a young company, with a high number of graduates. This resource will never be copied by anyone».
An example of your products?
«Our flagship products are the dry products made with fresh meat starting from slaughterhouse portions, often originally intended for human consumption. Soon we will launch a new line after a trial lasting 18 months. This is a fundamental point: 24-hour vigilance with laboratory analysis and certification checks».
Revenue has increased exponentially: we have gone from less than one million euro in 2011 to nearly eighteen of 2015. What are the future plans?
«As we speak an ongoing enlargement process is already in place with the installation of the second extrusion line: within 12 months we expect to double our potential in terms of production. All without losing our soul: to produce well-being for dogs and cats, as stated in our Mission. And this counts more than any income!».
FIND OUT MORE:
Visit the BEFOOD website at www.befood-pet.com