Where R&D is king

FaravelliMilano-based Faravelli is a global player in cosmetics, food and pharmaceutical arenas worldwide and owes its competitiveness to the efforts it traditionally dedicates to innovation, striving to provide its customers worldwide with functional prototypes and new ingredients. Established in Milano in 1926 Faravelli is a provider and distributor of raw materials to the worldwide industries of food, pharmaceutical and cosmetics. Founded by Giusto Faravelli, the company has been constantly expanding both its business and its international presence throughout the decades. In fact, last year the company posted revenue of more than 95 million euros and today its target is to reach the peak of 100 million euros in the next few years. Also, while in 2008 it opened an office in Shanghai, in order to better serve the needs of the Chinese and Asian market, respectively in 2012 and in 2014 it inaugurated a sister company in Spain and gave birth to Faravelli Inc. after landing in the United States. Since 1978 it runs the German-based Faravelli Gmbh, headquartered in Hamburg; and in 2005 Faravelli Sro, in Prague, also followed. A significant part of Faravelli’s business builds upon the expertise that the Group has in the field of innovative raw materials, but aiming to enlarge its offer the distributor focuses on consultancy services. Its R&D skills and the laboratory it manages allow the company to provide customers with new formulations and functional prototypes or systems. Especially in the cosmetics scenario Faravelli has been growing steadily in the last few years, together with the overall number of producers with which it established a close relationship. Therefore, at present, its portfolio includes a wide range of products including emulsifiers and surfactants, natural thickeners, natural and synthetic active ingredients and biotechnological actives. Mineral salts, preservatives, humectants and antioxidants are also part of Faravelli’s prerogatives. In the short term, one of the goals is to consolidate business in the US, as sales & marketing director of Giusto Faravelli SpA (the Group’s Italian branch) Guido Rovati told KosWorld.

Guido Rovati

First of all, mister Rovati, could you please describe the very milestones of the evolution that your company, Faravelli, has undergone over the last decades and more recently?
One of our most important leaps forward took place in the Seventies, when our management decided to shift completely from the retail sector, that was eventually abandoned, to the business to business corporate segment. Later, in the Eighties, we managed to gain further visibility by partnering up with companies in the pharmaceutical supply chain. This strategy supported us in acquiring a new structure and enhancing our quality control activities. Internationalization was another remarkable goal Faravelli was able to achieve with the establishment of our overseas branch offices. Over the last decade, finally, the company has undergone an ambitious process of generational change, carefully monitored by our management. This proved most successful and today we can undoubtedly state that Faravelli is strongly rooted in history, but it also displays interesting perspectives for the future.

Which are nowadays your major sources of revenue and which nations show able to ensure the most interesting and satisfactory results, according to your opinion?
Faravelli’s Italian headquarters still represent more than 50% of our overall business and it is important to notice that the company is still growing steadily. Its performance is largely driven by the liveliness of such sectors as food, nutraceutical and, last but not least, cosmetics. My opinion is that the Faravelli Group has gained a significant competitive advantage from its well-structured sourcing activities, especially in China, which surely helped it increase the overall sales of a wide number of food and dietary ingredients.

Which foreign countries are you planning to address in the near future, mister Rovati?
We recently opened a new Faravelli subsidiary in the United States and therefore we think that the most part of our efforts will be devoted to developing our North American business. It is an immense market but needs to be approached cautiously, with dedicated strategies.

Could you point out some of your company’s most remarkable points of strength?
Our solid organization, together with the ability to offer our worldwide clients’ most impellent requests the quickest response possible, are certainly among the elements that make Faravelly competitive. This is witnessed by the success the Group experiences in the European market, where our brand is very well known and appreciated. It is a form of expertise we now must build upon in order to consolidate our corporate brand awareness in the United States too, where we are already dealing with the aggressive competition of a number of multinational players, especially in the distribution segment

As for cosmetics itself, could you describe some of your clients’ most frequent needs?
One of the most prominent requests from the cosmetics industry is innovation. This is primarily due to the fact that a product life-cycle is becoming shorter with time and, as we already considered, competition is becoming stronger and stronger. It means our customers must intensify the launch of new products and that we must be able to support them. By developing functional prototypes in our laboratories we strive to address their demand and in addition to this our aim is to deliver them the largest amount of novelties possible.

Is any of the specialties in your portfolio forecasted to be a blockbuster in the short or medium term? And what kind of formulations are more likely to succeed?
We are currently noticing a growing interest towards our natural rheological additives, as well as for our high-end silicones, with which customers can actually play in order to obtain innovative and creative textures. As for botanic actives, I would point out that the scientific validation of ingredients, corroborated by in vitro and ex vivo laboratory tests, allows us to support market-driven innovation, both in case client companies are looking for revolutionary botanic sources, such as super-fruits, unicellular algae or blends; and in case they their aim is to find pharmaceutical-like claims. The example comes from such prerogatives as prolonged release, that one can obtain by utilizing some of our polysaccharide arrays.

What’s the importance and weight of research and development activities in Faravelli’s everyday business?
Their importance is such that it is even difficult for me to estimate their actual weight and to evaluate the amount of the investments we usually devote them. Of course, this is an exaggeration, but it is true we dedicate R&D activities an important part of our efforts and much time too. But research and development allow us to grow constantly and represent the very foundations of our company’s mission.

Consultancy also seems to play a crucial role in your business model: could you spend a few words about the strategies you implemented to better serve your customers, under this specific point of view?
I don’t think there is one specific strategy because, when trading specialties, a direct relationship with the research and development activities is essential, given a company can rely on a strong basis of competence and discretion.

What kind of products and/or services are now emerging in the cosmetics arena and what kind of solutions could prove the most valuable and effective in the near future?
The cosmetics sector is still most lively and as for Faravelli customers require us to be proactive both on the theoretical side – by sharing our scientific applicative information – and on the practical side, by always unveiling creative and unconventional prototypes. It is a major reason of satisfaction to hear clients say that our work is a source of inspiration for their duty too: this means a lot to us and witnesses the effectiveness of our business model.

91 years of experience
Faravelli was established 91 years ago in Milan by the eponymous founder Giusto Faravelli, a raw materials trader and a provider of specialties in the photochemistry industry. Although the company still owes more than 50% of its overall sales to Italy, throughout the decades it managed to turn into an important international players, opening offices and sister companies in Germany, the Czech Republic, China, Spain and finally, with Faravelli Inc., in the United States, that possibly represent today one of the most challenging markets for the entire group.

Cosmetics: a booming business
The Cosmetic Division is the most recent among Faravelli’s corporate departments. The firm’s activity in this very started in the mid Nineties only, but it rapidly increased in a few years, then becoming one of its most active and lively businesses. In the past decade, thanks to the many new important relations that Faravelli was able to establish with a number of leading global producers, its product portfolio has been significantly enlarging. Research and development play a crucial role within the group and the brand-new Cosmetic Application Laboratory has been conceived for internal technical trials, trainings and technical support for clients, development of prototypes, new formulas and innovative ideas.

by R.Carminati