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Via Gaggio N°72 - 47832 San Clemente - Rimini, Italy
VAT number: 01622060406

VAT number: 01622060406
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Excellent year for the European Cluster led by Andrea Di Rauso

2023 has been a particular year, especially from a meteorological point of view. The climate has influenced consumption, particularly in those geographical areas where it can be said that the seasons have changed. This is the case of the Northern & East European Cluster, guided by Andrea Di Rauso who together with the UK/ Ireland, France / Belgium country managers and 13 other very determined area managers, will close 2023 with a highly satisfactory performance for all the Casa Optima brands (MEC3, Giuso, Pernigotti Maestri Gelatieri Italiani).

Andrea Di Rauso - Regional Manager Casa Optima

How has the Northern European market performed during the summer and in general throughout the year?
Thanks to the mild weather at the beginning of the season, we got off to an incredibly good start with record numbers in the first half of the year, exceeding 2022, which was a record year for Casa Optima. In the middle months, due to the failure of summer to arrive, in some geographical areas we were slightly affected, but despite this, I can say with great satisfaction that thanks to the numerous activities put in place, we will also close 2023 with record numbers. All thanks to the group, the companies, and the determination of my team. I like to think that that with a team as strong as the one we have today, we are destined to always be successful… I don’t see any other options! 

Which countries stood out the most in terms of performance and why?
The countries that stood out in 2023 are many, and among these I would like to mention France, Belgium, Romania, Greece, and UK/Ireland. Particularly in France the culture of Italian artisanal gelato is growing year by year, and thanks to the arrival of a new area manager, Alain Menuet, we have expanded our workforce, finally managing to cover the entire territory.

How widespread and deep-rooted is the culture of artisanal gelato in Northern Europe.  

Increasingly but never enough. When I started working in the UK 15 years ago, nine times out of ten I had to explain what gelato was. Today “Gelato” has replaced the term Ice-cream, everyone knows that it is made in Italy, and they recognise Italy’s leadership in the sector. The Anglo-Saxon market has made giant steps, it has quintupled the number of artisanal gelato parlours, and the driving force is the third generation of Italian families, as for example in Scotland where the Italian concept is very deep-rooted. It’s a different story for other countries, such as the Scandinavian ones, where soft ice- cream is the most popular. On the contrary Norway and Finland are at the top per capita for gelato consumption, however there are still very few gelato parlours.

Are we talking about deseasonalisation in gelato parlours in these areas?
Yes, but in an irregular manner. In France, for example, the Italian glace ends with the opening of the schools. On the other hand, in the UK, the gelato parlours work non-stop for twelve months, gelato has been deseasonalised and is eaten all year round just like in Italy. If I think about the situation ten years ago, I can say that with our work we have really contributed to spreading the culture of artisanal gelato: the market has evolved and today there is nowhere in the UK where you don’t eat gelato. Let’s say we were in the right place at the right time.  

Which were the most popular flavours during the summer?
I would start with MEC3’s Salted Caramel Popcorn, which was the undisputed star of the summer, followed by Paw Patrol. For Giuso it was Grandma’s Tart and the fruit flavours in general, for Pernigotti MGI, Limone Costiera Amalfitana and Pepita. In general, all the 2023 novelties have been an immense success, I have never seen such great feedback for all the three companies of the group.

However, as usual we won’t stop here: we are already working on an even more expansive 2024 in terms of innovation and novelties. To everyone I say ‘stay tuned’ because there will be no shortage of surprises!