Italian Food Thinks Big: FICO Eataly World is Here

15 November 2017

The food. A primary good, the emanation of our culture and tradition. A cure for both the body and the soul. A business, that of the Made in Italy food heritage, which can count on a national export that reaches 1.2 billion people worldwide.

On Wednesday, November 15, in Bologna is inaugurating FICO Eataly World – a company participated by Eataly World, Coop Alleanza 3.0 and Coop Reno – which promises to attract four million visitors to the capital city of Emilia-Romagna already in the first year of activity. Called the “Disneyland of Food”, the theme park centers on itself around 150 among small craftsmen, entrepreneurs and large consorts, who will unveil in a new the Italian food sector and its production chain.


The answer to on of our primary needs becomes pure edutainment, a journey between education and entertainment on 10 acres of Italian biodiversity, which winds through 2 acres of fields and stables with more than 200 animals and 2000 cultivars, 40 factories and 43 restaurants. FICO plays the central role in a mosaic of activities and projects aimed at transforming food consumption into an experience of playful and conscious cultural enrichment. Starting from Slow Food, the international cultural movement born in 86 in Bra, the concept of EXPO Milano 2015, school projects and numerous ‘workshops’ of taste, all the way to the fruitful publishing around Food and to the stars of high-level cuisine.


It is to wonder whether this recent need to restore the importance of a ritual ancient as Man itself is nothing more than a widespread and peaceful manifestation of a renewed desire to affirm our value as individuals. In a world devoted to a schizophrenic profit rally, claiming the right to a meal that is foreign to the homologation of flavors and cultures, becomes a movement of cultural revolution.


The food market, on the other hand, seems to open up scenarios far beyond the growing appreciation of agro-food excellence and agricultural biodiversity. 2017 marks the historic record for Made in Italy food export, up for + 10.9% over the first six months of 2017 compared with the same period last year, according to Coldiretti’s analysis of Istat data. The 80% of Italian food exports are represented by prestigious industrial brands (Dop, Igp), mainly intended for the European and US markets, but also to meet the growing demand from Asian and East Asian countries Europe.


The food business has also reached the digital world, where food and technology partnerships generate a volume close to 135 billion euros, with a growing trend. Foodscovery and WineoWine, food delivery applications operating in the Italian excellence, have raised $ 800,000 from their respective investors. Together, the active start-ups in the food business sector move more than 14 million euros in investments. Encouraging numbers, of course, that give us a glance on a high profitable sector, yet far from being fully exploited. In fact, only 11% of the world’s startups that combine innovation and agriculture come from Italy, while 52% of startups are from US (Source: SmartAgriFood Observatory).


The future seems to converge on innovative models linked to hyper-local solutions, integrating the ease of use of applications with local, organic and sustainable agri-food production. Food habits are moving towards a conscious and qualitatively high nutrition, which also takes into account the tight rhythms of consumers’ life.


In the Italian food ecosystem, FICO is definitely a visionary but complex project, not only because of its vastness and the inevitable responsibility to relaunch the country, but above all because of the ambition to make a system on the territory. “A city in which every family in the Middle Ages had a tower, is learning to team,” writes Max Bergami, Dean of Bologna Business School, on the pages of Il Sole 24 Ore. “The business model is very interesting because it is built on the complementarity between the Fund that has invested 120 million, Eatalyworld that carries competences and brand, institutions that are able to value a public good with positive effects for the community and the Foundation intending to bring competence scientifically conjugated to the know-how of the professions that refer to the social security funds that have invested. “


Think big and global, while working on small and local. This seems to be the recipe suggested by FICO Eataly World to successfully deal with the Future coming.



To prepare for the challenges of the food sector, Bologna Business School offers ad hoc training to develop management, marketing and finance skills along with export strategies and distribution channel logics that are available today:

  • Global MBA in Food and Wine: the MBA in English is is designed to develop leaders and entrepreneurs who will drive growth and internationalization for companies in the food and beverage sector.
  • Food & Wine track of the Full Time Business Management: the course in Italian is intended for young graduates wishing to start a managerial career in this leading industry of Italian excellence.
  • Executive Master in Entrepreneurship: the Master in Italian language is aimed to train and inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs. 
  • Growing Your Italian Restaurant: the objective of the Open Program course is to taste first-hand the excellence of Italian haute cuisine, meeting the leading players of the industry and getting to know their success stories.


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