ITALY – Avril, one of the leading agro-industrial groups in France, has acquired a majority stake in Italian food manufacturer of natural sauces, pastas, spreads and olive oil Eccellenza Italiana for an undisclosed sum. 

Founded in 2014, Eccellenza Italiana sells its products under three complementary brands: Italians Do It Better, for mainstream retailers; Al Dente Al Salsa, for products sold through speciality stores; and the Il Biologico Italiano brand, which is sold through organic wholesalers. 

With the investment, Avril aims to strengthen its position in the consumer goods market and expand its portfolio in France and internationally. 

Jean-Philippe Puig, CEO of Avril, said: “We intend to preserve the full creativity of Eccellenza Italiana, which has been the source of its success, while providing it with the means to enter a new phase of its development, thanks to the support of the group and our in-depth knowledge of the markets.  

This will further strengthen our positions in the consumer goods sector, in line with the group’s strategic priorities, while remaining true to our commitments and our purpose, ‘Serving the earth’.” 

Eccellenza Italiana is also expected to leverage Avril’s international footprint to expand into new geographical regions. 

“Our ambition is to become the market leader in hot sauces within an accessible premium positioning in France and then internationally, in addition to developing new categories of products,” Christian de Waldner and Patrizio Miceli, co-founders of Eccellenza Italiana, added. 

“Avril’s muscle and expertise in the savoury food market will give a powerful boost to the development of our brands. Our shared ambition and common values as activists for healthier food while preserving our planet are in line with our strategic vision.” 

Earlier, Avril down played fears of a looming shortage of cooking oil due to the war Ukraine halting supplies of sunflower oil.  

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has stalled trade from the Black Sea exporting countries, which together account for 80% of global exports of sunflower oil. 

The trade disruption prompted the European vegetable oil industry group FEDIOL to isssue a warning that Europe could face a shortfall in sunflower oil, including for consumers. 

Avril however noted that it Lesieur cooking oil brand is sourced entirely in France and therefore the war in Ukraine will not affect availability. 

To boost supply for Lesieur and other brands it supplies, Avril said it would divert sunflower oil allocated for producing biodiesel fuel to food channels. 

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