New Ideas, New Products

Euro Vast knows it has to continually innovate to stay competitive.

GRAEME RODDEN

Euro Vast continues to thrive despite its relative small size compared with some other tissue producers. And, it has great hopes for the future. The Tuscan-based tissue producer can put out about 115,000 metric tpy, up about 25,000 metric tons since 2015. Turnover in 2017 was about EUR 125 million, and in 2018 this should grow to almost EUR 150.

To support its plans, Euro Vast recently opened two converting operations, bringing its total to four. (It also has four tissue mills, all in Italy.) The big difference is that the two are located outside of Italy. One is in the UK, near Liverpool (opened 2017), and the new operation in Oss, The Netherlands (opened 2018), is completely wind powered. They convert parent rolls to bathroom tissue or kitchen towel.

After installing a new machine in its Cartiera della Basilica mill in Lugliano in 2015, EuroVast purchased the Fabriche di Vergemoli tissue mill, also in Tuscany, in 2016. In the meantime, scheduled upgrades to Cartiera della Basilica at the end of 2018 will help boost production.

The company has increased its strategic marketing efforts as it works to grow.
At the top, Umberto Romano has joined his father and Euro Vast founder, Vincenzo Romano. Vincenzo is still president, while Umberto is director general.

Continually thinking outside the box to come up with new products is what sets the company apart. A few years ago, the company was among the first to develop a toweling placemat, Tovaglietta, which came on a roll.

The product has proved to be quite a success. Euro Vast makes it for the major private labels in Italy. The roll concept has been extended to napkins as well (20 cm x 20 cm, 2 x 200 2-ply sheets per roll).

The company is the first to make a tissue product with pets as its target market. As the market for pet products grows and becomes more sophisticated, Euro Vast may have seized upon a tremendous idea, especially considering how people dote on their pets.

Called Dog and Pets, the strong towel product comes in a roll with sheets (28 cm by 28 cm, 101 3-ply sheets per roll). Think Dalmatians! “It is starting to gain acceptance,” Commercial Director Stefano Ambrogi notes. It is part of the company’s flagship Fior di Carta Lifestyle tissue line.

Changes are coming to this popular line. It will be divided into basic, colored and decorated, perfumed and compact. Each will be identified by a different color and paper flower inspired by origami.

“For a brand which is opening up to the European market, we needed a new image designed to be able to compete with international brands,” says Umberto. “But, we did not want to lose our identity represented by the black strip (printed on each package) part which sets us apart in the paper sector. Renewal is important.”

Euro Vast has introduced new lines of bathroom tissue and kitchen towels in 2018.

Suprema: A bathroom tissue the company says is quilted, super soft, and “luxurious.” Packs are in four, nine, 16, 18 and 24 rolls.

Buffalo kitchen towels: Called a “beast of absorbency.” Ambrogi says the Buffalo line will feature bigger rolls (100 sheets) than usual with packs of one, two, three, four and six rolls. It has super absorbent features. There is also a lemon-scented Buffalo.

Scented tissue plays a role in most of Euro Vast’s products, particularly bathroom tissue. New scents are on the way in the Fior di Carta line (argan, coconut, and shea butter).

Private labels made up more than 70 percent of its market until recently. Now, Umberto says, “It is time to promote and penetrate the market with our own brands (Fior di Carta, Suprema, and Buffalo).”

 

Euro Vast believes that society’s demographics are changing. Whereas through much of the 20th century society could be seen as a ball with a large middle class in the center, now, Ambrogi says, it resembles an hourglass with a shrinking middle class and growing upper and lower classes at each end. It is toward this upper strata where Euro Vast is aiming its efforts. “The perception of tissue products has progressed.”

In the UK, Umberto says the company is looking to expand the facility. “The UK is for us very strategic.”

Still, he admits that to stay competitive, Euro Vast has to stay innovative. “Every year, we develop something new. You have to know who you are.

“Be flexible,” he adds. “We are big enough to be able to move fast.” This is part of Euro Vast’s core beliefs, to be ready to respond to any customer request with flexibility.