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In the world’s largest pasta factory:
Paolo Barilla also believes the company should take re- sponsibility for improving the food situation of the world’s growing population. “The industry needs to find solutions,” he insists. There is already enough food to feed everyone, but it is not distributed everywhere. One-third of the food produced worldwide is discarded. “Our goal has to consist of making food affordable and available for everyone,” he says. Accord- ingly, the company has come up with a simple appeal: "Eat less. Eat better. Food for all."
Another major issue, of course, is how food is produced. For example, Barilla has eliminated palm oil from its prod- uct range. The cheap and versatile ingredient used in many sweets is criticized by the European Food Safety Authority. Barilla has replaced it by a healthier saturated fat.
But Paolo Barilla is not neglecting the forest for the trees. “Everyone is talking about how plastics are affecting the global environment right now. But the plastics problem is only the tip of the iceberg,” he says. The company has long since opted for cardboard packaging, but this is not near- ly enough. All members of its value chain, from farming to distribution, are required to help attain greater levels of sus- tainability. “It won’t work without cooperation,” Barilla notes. The company wants to sign long-term contracts with its approximately five thousand farmers and thereby encourage sustainable production, despite the enormous price pressure in agriculture. Barilla offers fair remuneration for high quali- ty products produced with less impact on the environment. Along with having lowered its overall water consumption by one-third and its greenhouse gas emissions by one-fourth, the company can show impressive environmental results. Cutting-edge technologies have played a role, for example, at the modern sauce factory in Rubbiano, which is located not far from company headquarters.
But Barilla goes far beyond producing food. The company places a premium on cooperation with distributors, advises them, and develops new shop concepts for them. For this, the Food Experts use digital technologies, for example in their 3-D theatre, where shop concepts can be experienced virtually.
The company is right at the center of the food industry’s transformation, which is marked by ever greater availability of data throughout the supply chain and individualization of products and customer relationships. The former race-car driver is impressed by the speed of these changes. “Trans- formation means that we’re one thing today and something else tomorrow,” he says. He knows that his company has to put considerable effort into keeping up with start-ups and the speed of their innovations. “New companies don’t have to first make changes; they can just get straight to work,” he notes. Yet with 140 years of experience in his back, he is confident about the future. Barilla’s bowl of pasta is now empty. Meals made from traditional family recipes disappear in a flash.
Food and Farming
  Production is largely automated. Robots
and driverless transport systems handle the packaging processes (above). Data are analyzed in real time (center). Around 350,000 tons of pasta leave the factory
every year.
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