After his experience at the Master Food & Beverage at SDA Bocconi, Edoardo Freddi founded an eponymous company that helps wine producers grow, innovate and open up to new markets
A portfolio with 45 wineries, over 2,000 customers abroad including importers and distributors in 95 countries around the world, a 30-member sales and admin team located throughout Europe, Asia and the US, 28 million bottles sold in 2021 alone, and a growth rate of 35%.
Since opening for business in 2012, Edoardo Freddi International has earned a solid position as one of the leading Italian wine exporters. Founder Edoardo Freddi, alumnus of the Master in Food & Beverage at SDA Bocconi, has always taken a proactive approach to business, and that hasn’t changed over the past two difficult years.
“There’s no denying,” he tells us, “that the pandemic crisis has had serious repercussions: in on-trade we lost 20%, but that was offset by online, which passed the test with flying colors as the most reliable sales channel. Investing in this channel was essential to grow the business and the team. So much so that in 2021 we opened two new foreign offices, one in China and the other in the US, and hired 7 new collaborators in Italy and 5 abroad.”
Today the business model at Edoardo Freddi International is consolidated, although there were obstacles and difficulties, especially in the startup phase. “The idea came to me in 2011 while I was taking the Master Food & Beverage at SDA Bocconi. During several visits I made to wineries, I recognized the gap that existed between Italian producers, in particular small and medium-sized operations, and the national and international markets. What was missing was a structure that could help them grow, and innovate with product extensions, and open up to new markets or new channels such as HoReCa, big retail chains and online sales. The biggest challenge was to overcome the bias against an external commercial structure like the one I founded. Many producers who are tied to traditional go-to-market models see us as a cost, not an added value for their business. It took a few years and a tremendous amount of work to do away with that bias. But today our customers see us as indispensable, a fixed point of reference, especially in these tough years because of the pandemic.”
Edoardo has very clear ideas about the immediate future too: “The way I see it, in China we still have work to do and there are ample growth margins for our wines. The same is true for Africa, a market that’s really matured in recent years, and where we want to invest big. Beyond that, there are a number of consulting projects linked to investment funds for M&A activity that we’ve been handling for a few years now. And we’re also looking to shore up our satellite offices that we’ve opened in the US and China thanks to local partners that will allow us to cover the market effectively. So all in all, we aim to grow even more and continue exporting our wines all over the world.”