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“The people who have a business that is not yet online and not present on social networks, in the near future will be side-lined from commercial activity.” Bill Gates

The events that have characterized the last two years have accelerated a digital transformation already underway. A change that has involved all sectors and all companies of all dimensions, including gelato and pastry businesses.

We will discover together the major changes in the consumers shopping habits and we will learn how to exploit them to our advantage in the interview with Valentina Porcile, Digital Marketing Manager of the group Casa Optima.

These last two years have turned our lives upside-down, radically changing our habits and experiences in purchasing and business. What kind of an impact has covid-19 had on the Food & Beverage sector?

We are facing a profound cultural transformation, a revolution that has generated an interruption of our previous habits, leading to the birth of new ones, thanks particularly to technology.

In this context of transformation, the need to change our “normal” ways of doing business, has led us to do business online, even in those sectors where until recently, the presence on social networks and on the web did not seem essential.

If this accelerated digitization process has so far been considered as an extraordinary and contingent measure, now the moment has arrived to transform the innovative solutions adopted into long-term guidelines. With the awareness of this new scenario, to not adopt digital technology in your business, even in the case of gelato and pastry shops, will naturally lead to a competitive disadvantage.

So, what should we do to make the most of this change? Here are two digital trends that every Food & Beverage business should keep in mind:

1. Food Delivery as a long-term strategy.

2. The use of digital channels, in particular social media

In what way does digital support and amplify the business potential of and artisan gelato or pastry chef?

The Pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital procedures: in fact, a greater use of digital technology, both for work reasons or for contact with the outside world, has given rise to new digital and purchasing habits. Amongst these new habits it is possible to find the use of Food Delivery.

People have grown accustomed to this new level of comfort, and therefore it’s difficult to consider Food Delivery as just a short-term cushioning strategy, even when the emergency has returned to normal. We can assume that Food Delivery will to all intents and purposes, become an integral part of a long-term strategy of the Food& Beverage companies.

A strategy that is not a replacement, but in full support of what was the “normal” activity, until the arrival of Covid-19. The data helps us understand the market of Food Delivery better, which owing to the pandemic has registered record figures. Here are the most significant numbers concerning our sector:


-          The home delivery gelato orders have grown in triple digits (+179%) compared to last year.

-          1 consumer out of 10 in Italy purchases groceries using almost exclusively digital channels.

-          4 Italians out of 10, 37% of the population orders using the telephone or pc.

-          The number of gelato parlours has nearly doubled on the platform (+74% vs 2020)


How to make the most of this opportunity to support one’s business?

We can start by transforming the moment of food consumption into a genuine delivery experience of the future and not just a simple delivery of something readymade.

The first thing to do is to put yourself in the customers shoes, for example by testing different packaging possibilities, it will be possible to assess the conditions in which the product will arrive at home. Do a test, have the order delivered to the furthest possible area within the delivery range, and evaluate whether what you are offering in terms of presentation and the purchase and consumption experience of the product is what you want to offer to your customers.

What role do social media play today and how important is it to know how to use them correctly?

In 2021, to “do an excellent job” is not enough if this is not communicated correctly to your customers and potential customers through the social media. Social media are one of the major promotional tools for the Food & Beverage sector. Just think that #foodporn, the most popular hashtag on Instagram in publications concerning food, counts 274 million posts on a platform that boasts 500 million users. One post tastier than the next!

It's foolish to think that this tool is not important also for gelato and pastry businesses, on platforms where the visual and photographic part reign. It makes you ask yourself: why preclude yourself from the possibility of reaching thousands of potential customers? People love to post positive experiences, and photos of food appeal to the emotional participation of the users, both to those who publish the image and those who view it. Additionally, thanks to the use of geo tag and hashtag it’s possible to create a powerful word of mouth online. Each post is a true billboard!

Remember that both for the gelato and pastry shop, the social media represent an interactive showcase online. On your Instagram or Facebook account for example, a gelato parlour can present an assortment of flavours in the showcase, the premises of the gelato parlour, its style, and how it is furnished, plus the human side of the business by introducing the staff.

A new concept that many of us still have to “digest” is that today we eat first with the eyes and the brain, and then afterwards with the mouth, and this increases the impact that a good activity on social media can have on your business. Just think of the tendency created when a restaurant is recommended to us: the first thing we do is visit the social profile on Instagram, and most of us are not orientated towards that restaurant if the communication is not sufficiently qualified.

Faced with the behaviour of your potential public, it’s not possible to waste time and risk losing new customers due to poor quality social media activity.

You need to focus more on the visual aspect of your brand, good photographs and videos technically become interesting when through sight they stimulate the receptors of our brain activating the senses such as taste, smell and, sometimes, even contact.

Data source:
Osservatorio Gelato-Delivery. Ordini triplicati nell’ultimo anno – Horeca News
Food delivery per quattro italiani su 10 – Food Service