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Machiavelli: “Our specialization and expertise allows us to design tailor-made capsules”

capsule Machiavelli interview

MILANO – This is the third installment of the sit-down with Macchiavelli, a Bologna based company with 50 years of experience in the designing and marketing of plastic products and the first Italian company to develop compatible capsules for the main systems in use today. In this installment we will find out more from the company’s chief executive, Davide Macchiavelli, about their solution portfolio.

interview with Davide Machiavelli

You began in 2006 with Espresso Point Lavazza compatible capsules and you now cover all of the other form factors: what are the features of the different standards?

“Today, the systems can be divided into three big families, depending on the kind of beverage you want. The first family includes all the “espresso” related systems, which are Nespresso, Lavazza A Modo Mio and Lavazza Espresso Point. You can break this family down further into the different formats, the different quantity of coffee used and the technology for extracting coffee.

The second family is that of “multi-beverage” and the most popular system is Nestlé Dolce Gusto. This system offers customers a wide variety of beverages, from coffee to hot cocoa, from cappuccino to tea, and so on.

The third family is the “American style filter coffee” family where the leading system is Keurig, widespread mainly in the USA.

Today Macchiavelli offers compatible capsules for all of the most popular systems in the world.”

On your website you offer 5 different systems and each of these is available with different solutions. What does this mean?

“Macchiavelli offers three set-ups for every format to all of the roasters that want to invest in the coffee capsule market. These are: capsules without any barrier, self-protected capsules, which don’t require flow pack, and compostable capsules, available in both types: self-protected and without a barrier.”

Macchiavelli’s specialty is customization. Can you talk about your experiences in this field?

“Machiavelli works with the client every day with the goal of creating innovative products that exceed expected performance. In this specific field, we have developed several unique projects to meet specific customer requirements that couldn’t be met by standardized products.

Our specialization and expertise, combined with the extensive coffee knowledge of our customers, allowed us to design tailor-made capsules, which are different from any other solution currently on the market.”

So you are capable of meeting the requests of any roaster

“Yes, this is the company’s mission. We don’t make any distinction between small and big companies, we try to meet the different needs with the same professionalism, leveraging our culture and innovation.”

Your production could be defined as highly original, you filed as many as 40 patents

“I think it’s important to specify that the active patents in our field, specifically in the coffee and soluble capsule industry, are over 6,000. It’s a minefield: there are many companies that are investing increasing amounts of money in this field and differentiating isn’t easy. Nonetheless, Macchiavelli has always tried to create high-performance and original products, investing in technological innovation.

The constant research, both on the products and on the industrialization processes, has allowed us to develop original solutions that resulted in over 40 nationally and internationally recognized patents, all focused on capsule systems. This is the reason we like to say we don’t sell products; we sell technology.”

What do these patents mean for your clients?

“First of all, they are a guarantee that we offer a high-performance product that is respectful of other companies’ intellectual property, this means it is safe. We don’t imitate others; we provide compatible capsules with a proprietary technology.

At the same time, thanks to our patents, our clients and consumers can be sure that our compatible capsules will have the same functionality as the main brands.”

Among your clients is Caffè Vergnano, that you define as “historical”, why is that?

“The relationship between Machiavelli and Caffè Vergnano is more than a decade old. In 2011 we marketed together the first Italian Nespresso compatible capsule, an extremely important landmark, because at the time there were only two other manufacturers worldwide.

Clearly, back then, the core issue was that of legality and as soon as we entered the market we were fought hard by Nespresso, that wanted to protect its market as much as possible.

Macchiavelli is a research and development oriented company and it has always been respectful of competitors’ intellectual property. As a matter of fact, before launching any product there is always an extensive process of patent controls, developed in collaboration with the Jacobacci and Torta law firms, with the main goal of avoiding infringing Nespresso’s patents in any way.

The result is well-known, the legitimacy of our compatible capsule solutions was recognized.

Once the litigation was settled, we basically launched the Nespresso compatible capsule market.”

You can say that, to some extent, Machiavelli started the market of portioned coffee in capsules.

“We weren’t the first, but certainly our positioning has contributed to its dramatic growth. This is also thanks to the Antitrust Authority that drives good and fair competition, and a healthy competition is always a good thing for consumers.

Among fair competitors, you encourage each other to come up with new solutions, whereas unfair competition always results in poor quality and is detrimental for the consumer. The companies that share our innovation and sustainability ethos will be able to offer continuous improvements to their customers and consumers with the goal of producing an excellent beverage in the cup.”