Can Lavazza transform into a global coffee player without diluting its core values? Euromonitor’s Matthew Barry takes a look.

There’s been much attention paid to Starbucks’ ambitious plans to finally enter the Italian market.

Receiving less attention, but perhaps more significant in the long run, is the changing nature of Italy’s most important coffee company, Lavazza.

Once a national company that focused its efforts nearly exclusively on fresh coffee within Italy, Lavazza is now the third-largest coffee company in the world, with interests in many more categories and geographies than it had before.

Creating a company that appeals to Australians, Americans, and Estonians the way it does to Italians has naturally required Lavazza to change the way it operates.

The major question hanging over the future of the company is whether it can do that while also keeping its core identity intact.

The coffee market in Italy is stagnant, with volumes expected to expand by just 0.2 per cent during the entire forecast period.

The Italian coffee market is simply too mature for major volume growth to be possible anymore, and the situation is unlikely to turn around anytime soon.

As the market leader in Italy, with over twice the share of number two Nestlé, this is a major problem for Lavazza.

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