The evolution of the Ferrero Group is a third generation story starting with a tenacious Piedmontese family and their sweet taste for success. We have to return to the ‘40s to discover the roots of this success. These were the years when Piera and Pietro, Michele’s parents, transformed a pastry shop into a factory. The Ferrero’ Family was the first Italian manufacturer after World War II to open production sites and offices abroad in the confectionery sector, turning the Company into a truly international Group.
These first and decisive steps forward were thanks to the products ‘invented’ by Pietro Ferrero and his son Michele, who was then very young. Another key to success was the effective sales network organized by Giovanni, Pietro’s brother, who died in 1949.
A worldwide success
Following the success of the company in Italy, Michele Ferrero decided to start producing also abroad. In 1956 a large plant in Germany was inaugurated and a short time later a plant in France. It was the prelude to a rapid expansion of Ferrero in Europe, with the establishment of commercial offices and production centres in Belgium, The Netherlands, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain.
In the following decades Ferrero becomes global, with companies and plants in North and South America, South East Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa, Australia; and, more recently, in Turkey, Mexico and China.
The first acquisitions
During 2015, Ferrero opened the dawn of a new era for the company through two important acquisitions. In March, the Company obtained the final approval to start the integration process with Oltan, the leading company for collecting, roasting and trading hazelnuts in Turkey. The second acquisition, as of August, was Thorntons, the chocolate confectionery company founded in 1911 in the United Kingdom.
Thorntons, employing more than 3.300 people, is now part of the extended family. Both businesses have rich family histories and share a strong commitment to delighting customers with high quality, premium confectionery products.
Group social responsibility
Ferrero is now steadily ranked among the first companies in the world for its reputation. Certainly, this is due also to the social responsibility initiatives of the Group. These are summarised in Ferrero’s CSR strategy, which is focused on the highest quality and innovation, transparent communication, the care for people that have made and are still making the Group’s history, the support of local communities, the promotion of active lifestyles amongst young people as well as its strong engagement towards sustainable agricultural practices and the protection of the environment.
Today, Giovanni Ferrero continues to run the Company successfully, aiming to reach goals that are even more ambitious and ensuring that the company inspiration and motivation that was so strongly shared with his father Michele and his brother. Today, just as yesterday, it is a structure based on solid family values. 2018 sees the continued evolution of the business with the acquisition of Nestlé’s US confectionery business and as Giovanni Ferrero, Executive Chairman of the Ferrero Group, said, “We are very excited about the acquisition of Nestlé’s US confectionery business, which has an outstanding portfolio of iconic brands with rich histories and tremendous awareness. In combination with Ferrero’s existing US presence, including the recently acquired Fannie May Confections Brands and the Ferrara Candy Company, we will have substantially greater scale, a broader offering of high-quality products to customers across the chocolate snack, sugar confectionery and seasonal categories, and exciting new growth opportunities in the world’s largest confectionery market. We look forward to welcoming the talented team from Nestlé to Ferrero and to continuing to invest in and grow all of our products and brands in this key strategic and attractive market.”
Ferrero continues to flourish as a family business and is continuing to invest and evolve as it moves further into the 21st Century, building on a story that transcends three generations and is a far cry from the transformation of their first shop into a factory back in the 1940’s.