Italian Food in a Global Economy

In March, a group of students from Krannert School of Management at Purdue University spent their spring break learning about the business of Italian food in a custom-designed seminar program taught by local Accent faculty, Angelo Arcuri. The seminar was designed to provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the Italian food industry and its role in the global economy, while encouraging them to think critically about the impact that globalization has on Italian agribusiness and international food markets.

Arcuri is Head of the International Relations Office at Confindustria Firenze, the Florentine regional office of the Italian Employers’ Federation and National Chamber of Commerce, and also lectures in Strategic Management at the European School of Economics in Florence.

Course readings and seminar lectures explored central issues in strategy and supply chain for Italian businesses competing in a global agribusiness marketplace, European Union laws regulating protected geographical designations of origin, and key international and national laws conditioning import and export of agricultural products in major consumer markets such as the U.S. and China, thus dramatically impacting global strategy for many Italian firms. Finally, at the end of the week, the seminar narrowed its focus from Italy to Tuscany, considering the unique factors that have influenced the evolution of agricultural industry in the region.

The group’s coursework was complemented by a series of visits around Florence and the region, including the city’s Central and Sant’Ambrogio markets and a series of demonstrations at the Poggio Alloro organic farm outside San Gimignano. The group also spent a day in the neighboring region of Emilia Romagna, including stops in Parma, known for Parmigiano cheese and Prosciutto di Parma, and Modena, famous for its balsamic vinegar.

The program represented a unique opportunity for the Krannert School of Management to introduce spring break programming through a seminar designed in partnership with Accent, taught entirely by local faculty.