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FARE INSIEME - Ep. 22 - Catta27, the start-uppers of industrial ice cream

«We will tell you about the revolution we have made in the world»


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This reality, which today has about fifty employees and collaborators, was born in the Bolognese packaging valley, it records a turnover of 10 million euros and exports for 75%. «Our strength has been the ability to cover the entire range of services». Giampaolo Colletti interviews for FARE Giuliano and Alessia Cocchi, president-founder and CEO of Catta27, respectively

di Giampaolo Colletti

Ice cream in the world has an all-Italian signature. Or rather Emilian. Because it was precisely in the Bologna hinterland that a process was born that rewrote the consumption, enlarged the markets, expanded the seasonality, and created a new generation of consumers from scratch who contributed to rewriting fashions, rituals and myths. A revolution that over the decades, especially since the 80s, has involved world markets thanks to the innovative machinery of Catta27. This excellence, specialised in the production of ice cream systems, was born in the heart of the packaging valley and has its headquarters in Zola Predosa, a district of twenty thousand souls located in the metropolitan area of ​​Bologna. But it exports all over the world: from the United States to Japan, from Finland to South Africa. The story behind Catta27 is a story of brilliant ideas, systematic innovations, methodology and analysis. To look beyond the horizon, starting from something that is a myth, namely ice cream. «We started from scratch and therefore we became the start-uppers of ice cream. We went from the craftsman who had small quantities to the finished products. Today, our ice cream production reaches three thousand litres per hour. Always keeping an eye on what is behind artisanal ice cream», assert Giuliano and Alessia Cocchi, president-founder and CEO of Catta27, respectively.  

The history of ice cream.
The company, which today has about fifty employees and collaborators, records a turnover of 10 million euros and exports 75% abroad, beginning its journey almost a century ago, as early as 1927. At the time it was called Cattabriga 1927 and was the first company in the world to put a motor ice cream maker on the market. The idea was born from the Bolognese Otello Cattabriga, who built the first automatic machine in the world to produce ice cream in a constant and continuous way. A revolution also for ice cream artisans because up to then everything was necessarily done by hand. But over time, there was the need to have a higher capacity for machinery and to scale up in quantities, keeping the quality intact. This is the stage in which we were in the 70s and artisanal ice cream passed to being semi-industrial and then to being industrial in the 80s. A new production was born made of fudgesicles, ice lollies, and ice cream cones. «At the time, in Italy and around the world, multinationals were very specialised. Instead, since the beginning of that decade, which changed the history of ice cream, our strength was the ability to cover the entire range of services, including the treatment of the blend and up to its storage», Cocchi recalls. The basic concept is to ensure a continuous production of ice cream, capable of exceeding the production capacity of a normal artisan laboratory. «The technologies are fundamental, but the treatment of the blend and the measurement of the quantity of air, which sometimes exceeds 100%, are essential. Thus, we are able to consume ice cream even in winter, which before wasn't even conceived by the artisan, breaking the classic seasonality», says Giuliano Cocchi.  

Italian ice cream in the world.
Roots that are planted in the area, but combined to the strength to work everywhere with that internationalisation that has a vision. «Yesterday, as today, we figure among the part of Italy that goes ahead, that produces, despite everything and, more and more often, despite everyone. The last two years have highlighted a huge problem related to the possibility of accessing the world markets due to the pandemic emergency, between the cancellation of trade fairs and the difficulties in shipping and in testing machinery. In any case, we still manage today, despite the difficulties, to really bring our expertise and technology everywhere: today the largest markets are Australia, the East, India, Russia, Romania, Georgia. Followed by Africa. On the other hand, ice cream is transversal, international», explains Alessia Cocchi. From the present day to the first trade fairs in China, being open to the world was the the only way to become suppliers of local companies. To construct plants to be assembled and then sold. And first of all to be delivered. In this way the goods arrived in Hong Kong and Beijing via Mongolia. Cocchi remembers it well. «When in 1980 we began to move from semi-industrial to industrial with the first lines for making ice cream, the Chinese market, that was previously inaccessible, opened up to us. But participating in fairs was a titanic challenge because it meant carrying up to five containers of hundreds of feet each to be able to sell them later. However, the participation to fairs was the only way to enter China. We were lucky, when the market opened we were there, we didn't lose opportunities», concludes Cocchi. Facing the challenges of the market at the right time and then win them. This too is the recipe for excellent enterprises.


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