THE GENTLE GIANTS: An interview with Federico Rebaudo, Head of Homa Appliances European Office Part.1

Homa’s global marketing approach and proposition to client brands seems to revolve around the concept of Food Preservation. Can you tell us what this means to you?
Food Preservation is one of the three concepts behind our marketing strategy, the other two being Care and Design. Food preservation as opposed to food storage, carries a sense of focus and attention to detail that resonates with consumers worldwide. Preserving also means protecting: our loved ones, our precious nourishment, our planet. It also brings technology into the picture. In our vision, the purpose of technology is to serve the ideal of caring from a concrete, technical point of view. In today’s world, a refrigerator is no longer a simple cold box to store food supplies, it has become an important part of our newly-found interest in caring for our families, our health and the environment. The concept of care also refers to Homa’s culture of building and maintaining relationships over the years, with partners, clients, and suppliers. It’s in our soul. Finally, Design, in its augmented connotation of both aesthetics and engineering, has a fundamental part to play in this as it is the driving force enabling both form and function.

How important is form, i.e. the aesthetic part of design, in Homa’s proposition?
If we consider the current lifestyle trends in most societies around the world, form is becoming increasingly important. Food, and its representation, is possibly the strongest way to express our cultural identity, our education, our social status, and the refrigerator is instrumental in this collective dedication to the staging of our lifestyles. Hence the importance of its appearance, I’d say appeal. In the kitchen we talk, we exchange ideas, we love, argue, cry, we get proposed, we entertain, we mourn. In fact the most important moments in our life are likely to occur in the kitchen, and the refrigerator is the largest and most visible appliance in it. When you come to think of it, it’s the first thing we open in the morning as we prepare breakfast, and also the last one, at night, when we drink that glass of milk before going to bed. We interact with it multiple times during the day. As a cooling appliances manufacturer exporting worldwide, we simply couldn’t avoid taking all this into consideration.

How did that impact the technology and the design of your refrigerators?
The need for a more natural, wholesome diet with plenty of fresh produce was at the basis of the introduction of No-Frost technology across our entire 2022 range. Fresher foods that last longer at every latitude, with all their vitamins and nutrients is ultimately what we want to offer, and we’re using the most appropriate technology to serve that purpose, even if it’s considered high-end. Can we afford it and still be competitive? Yes, because of our size and of the economies of scale we can achieve. Another example of lifestyle-driven technology in our products is the AI inverter. Sustainability and energy-savings are subjects consumers around the world are increasingly sensitive to, and about which they are less and less prepared to compromise. AI inverter technology, applied to the compressor system of our refrigerators, not only more than offsets any potential consumption increase due to No-Frost, it also helps avoid temperature fluctuations, maintaining a precise temperature inside the cavity, with the result of further energy savings and better preservation of food. In fact, you can say all the technology in our products is conceived and validated under that perspective. As far as design is concerned, this meant, for instance, more metallic parts and less plastic ones, for higher recyclability and lower impact on the environment. Also, the general glamourisation of food and personal life-styles vindicates our efforts to produce appealing, stylish appliances that seamlessly fit into any kitchen layout, and steal the show! We are partnering with leading European design firms that help us infuse that special glitch of international, cool sophistication into our refrigerators, and our 2022 collection is a beautiful example of this. Also, perhaps due to the recent restrictions, we tend to stay-in more, and entertain at home, hence the need for larger appliances. The reduction of the frequency of shopping trips, with larger supplies to stock every time, also goes in that direction. Entertaining at home also triggered the appearance of our first ice-maker and dispenser in some of our side-by-side models. To help our clients best convey the relevance of these innovations to their customers, we went beyond our traditional role of OEM producers and started creating the elements for a memorable and shareable storytelling around our products for the global market.

(To be continued)