Muraglia: marketing as a way to grow the olive-oil business
From finance to the farming olives. We speak to a businessman who left the world of finance to relaunch the family business and promote olive oil throughout the world.
Savino Muraglia Jr, managing director of Frantoio Muraglia, has “outfitted” the company’s olive oil (100% “Made in Puglia”) in ceramic jars, transitioning it from a simple commodity to a specialty item. The 40-year-old executive with a background in finance has been at the helm of the family business since 2014. Today, the company based in Andria, Italy, is a key player on the international market for extra-virgin olive oil, having won over famous chefs and their restaurants as well.
With 4 million euros in turnover in 2018, Frantoio Muraglia is seeing double-digit growth and can’t keep up with demand.
From finance to farming olives…
I worked in an M&A company for years, and in 2014, I decided to take a full-time position in the family business, but in my own way.
I went against the tide a bit in suggesting an alternative path. First and foremost, I changed the focus, targeting the specialty retail market. I introduced the company to the foreign markets first and then in Italy. The first step was attending industry trade shows.
The company has made marketing a real strength…
Yes. First, we worked on the packaging, an innovation that has given the product that something special that makes it stand out. Our strategy was, and still is, continuously analyzing the market, looking at real data and targeted missions to each country. We invested in rebranding six years ago. This is a path we’ve taken that has given us more visibility and allowed us to represent the company’s values: family, craftsmanship, transparency, and traceability.
How did you come up with the big idea?
We came up with the colorful olive-oil jars along with a family of ceramic artists in Puglia. Thanks to this, we’ve made a name for ourselves around the world.
What is turnover like?
We are seeing double-digit growth, and we’ve surpassed 4-million euros in sales. From 2009 to 2014, only 30% of our business came from Italy. Now it is 50/50.
Where can your products be found?
We can be found in 48 countries. We are a niche product. You won’t find us in the mass-retail channel, but we are on the shelves of Harrods in London, La Rinascente in Milan, Dean & Deluca in New York City and Shinsegae in Seoul. The United States is still our top international market while Germany is the largest market in Europe. We are really growing in France as well, and I am especially proud of this.
Is Italian olive oil truly the best?
In terms of taste and, from a nutraceutical point of view, yes. It has positive effects for those who use it. The Food and Drug Administration has also recognized this and has highlighted the product’s medical benefits.
Puglia is quite a strategic region in this industry, isn’t it?
Yes. Italy produces 400,000 tons of oil, half of which comes from the Puglia region.
What quality guarantee does Frantoio Muraglia offer?
We continue to handpick the olives, which come from land under our direct control, and they are cold pressed in the ancient stone mill. Thanks to recent acquisitions, our farm is now 50 hectares in size. Over the next 10 years, we would like to have as many as 150 hectares. Owning all of the land is, for me, a guarantee of quality.
What is next for the company?
Establishing a presence on the Chinese and Japanese markets, and building relationships with chefs, starting with young talents.
by francesca corradi