An interview with Mr Carlos Airoldes, President of UIFRA8 December 2014
This time, we had a conversation with Mr. Carlos Airoldes, President of the Pasta-Making Companies Association of the Argentine Republic (UIFRA), with the purpose of knowing the reality of the pasta-making sector, its projects, and making an evaluation of its participation in the World Pasta Congress 2014.
The Argentine dried pasta industry finds itself in a natural stage of growth, and this expansion is starting to produce greater publicity and international prestige for said sector. Having achieved an organizational maturity, nowadays its business executives face new challenges. What will change after the World Pasta Congress in Argentina 2014? And, how will they bust the cultural myth stating that pasta makes people fat?
Carlos, first, why was Argentina chosen for the World Pasta Congress 2014?
Our production volume has grown more than 40% since 2003. We are carrying out very strong campaigns to destroy the myths surrounding the consumption of carbohydrates, and we have a really varied industry, which still maintains a big, strong family-company component, and all of such companies are members of the association. All these features called the attention of the International Pasta Organisation (IPO), and they decided to back us up in this assignment.
Which do you think were the distinguished items of the Congress?
There were several prominent items. First, the number of attendees: we had more than 300 participants, all of them part of our value chain; professionals and/or business executives influencing companies’ decisions.
It was a great challenge for us to offer a Congress, free of charge for all attendees, and with the highest level concerning speakers and contents, within an excellent academic area, such as UCA’s auditorium. We are sure we did our best, and I think that we left a very good impression on everyone, especially the people who made the effort of coming from abroad.
We really appreciate our opportunity to receive IPO members here in Buenos Aires, as well as to gather together important local executives, including the labour union, suppliers, and government officers.
How many pasta factories are here in Argentina?
We can find around 70 pasta factories in Argentina, and 88% of them are small and medium-sized companies. We need to emphasize that a lot of these companies have experienced an enormous growth during the last years, thus achieving the highest international standards. In UIFRA, we are now focused on trying to help the rest of the companies to go back on track, and to contribute to the reduction of the the technology gap.
And, how can you describe the pasta sector in other countries?
Clearly, the family small or medium-sized company is tending to disappear in countries with a larger production, and everything ends up absorbed by only two or three companies. Luckily, our country still maintains the Italian-family traditions, and we can still find several third or fourth generations of pasta manufacturers here.
However, it is true that these companies find competition within the market harder than before. It is not easy in a context where there is more and more market concentration, but we believe that, betting on specialities, quality and technology, these companies will continue with their businesses and, therefore, grow.
Is the UIFRA carrying out any efforts in order to encourage pasta consumption?
We are sharing global trends. Even though our membership in the IPO as an Association is very recent, we are always paying close attention to their guidance. Moreover, as Brazil’s neighbours, we have a great role model in ABIMA, which is doing a really good work and is an excellent example as regards communication management.
Specifically, we have been carrying out a campaign called “The fact that pasta makes people fat is a myth”, for the last three years. We are implementing this campaign through renowned speakers and supporting it with scientific data. Of course, this campaign requires a big investment, but we stress the fact that we are pursuing a long-term institutional policy.
Lastly, how do you see the future?
I hope we can be as united as we are today. This World Pasta Day was very emotional because we were together, working as a team: the labour union, the sponsors, suppliers, colleagues, the Government. We have a lot of things to thank for, and undoubtedly, this will stay as part of our history.
Concerning our near future, I hope that Argentine pasta can attain the recognition and prestige it deserves, within our country, and throughout the world. If we can achieve such recognition, other things should follow.
Do you have any comments or want to thank anyone for this WPD 2014?
Again, I would like to thank all IPO members, for trusting us. Especially, our friends Claudio Zanão, and Simón Nóbile, who are, additionally, Latin American brothers. And, the most important thing: to congratulate Mr. Ricardo Fellicetti, for being elected President of the IPO. We are sure that his management period will be extremely successful, and we will like him to know that he may rely on UIFRA for anything he needs.
Mr. Carlos Airoldes has developed a long career in the Industrial Dried Pasta sector, working in the Commercial Management area of several leading companies. In the year 2001 he started working in Molinos Tres Arroyos S.A., contributing to its great growth. He had previously worked in the Argentine Ministry of Health and Care Services, in the Private Department.