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How innovations are born. Interview with Carlo Vanni group r&d manager bu ice cream

Group R&D Manager Carlo Vanni of Casa Optima’s Ice Cream BU, heads a team that deals with the development and creation of technical specifications for all gelato products of the Mec3, Giuso, and Pernigotti Maestri Gelatieri Italiani brands. In this interview Carlo explains in detail how the fantastic innovations that are launched on the market every year are created.

Carlo Vanni interview

Each year many new products are launched on the market: what does this mean in terms of commitment, study, and creativity?
It means a lot of organization and the involvement of all company functions. We follow a long- established process which allows us to intercept the best market trends thanks also to the international presence of our brands. Prior research for new raw materials and the planning of their supply is fundamental, considering the many difficulties generated by current geopolitical events.

What should be considered when creating a new product?
The process involves a 360° analysis, so it’s a question not only of finding the right organoleptic balance, but it involves meeting the requests for certifications and claims, necessary to sell the products in as many countries as possible. To give some examples, in our sector there are items with alcohol content that cannot be sold in markets where their consumption is prohibited. Then there are other trends, such as gluten free, which is increasingly in demand in the world of gelato, and nowadays to deal with this there are solutions that allow us to use ingredients suitable for replicating products that generally originate with gluten, for example biscuits or sponge cake.

How do the new products for the gelato parlour originate?
The ideas are generated from ‘brainstorming’ activities organized by the Marketing team together with R&D, Product Specialists, and Sales Managers who consider both the trends in vogue among consumers and the particularities of each brand. After an internal selection of all these ideas, from the most interesting ones, we start to study the feasibility, both from an organoleptic and industrialisation point of view. This is a long and complex process that lasts an average of seven months.

This year you broke the mould by launching the savoury gelato line at Sigep, ‘Salty Creations’ by Mec3. What are its characteristics?
The main characteristics of this product are a series of ingredients that allow us to significantly lower the sweetening power of the gelato without compromising its anti-freezing power, to obtain a product that is not sweet, but which maintains the same creaminess of a traditional gelato. Furthermore, we have created a complete recipe book to create and propose the most unthinkable flavours such as Parmesan, Mortadella or even Vitel tonnè, all thanks to the research in balancing ingredients that are unusual for gelato, which will give amazing results.

Does innovation also mean being daring?
You can have creative or traditional ideas, the important thing is to guarantee excellent organoleptic response and the quality of the ingredients used, in order to satisfy the consumers palate. All our inventions take this into account.