Retail

Italian food is key in US specialty food grocers

The American special food chains are increasingly interested in Italian products, which are continually growing in assortment

Italian food is trendy and it is becoming more and more appealing to American consumers who are interested in the specialty food market. Here are the opinions of some key managers from four chains that specialise in high quality American and imported food. These chains include Draeger’s Market, Kings Super Markets, Pastoral, and Di Bruno Bros.

Pastoral Artisan cheese, bread & wine

Pastoral, for example, carries a vast assortment of cheeses which are divided evenly with 50% American and 50% international. Of these international cheeses, 25% are Italian and hold the largest percentage amongst the group. Our prices are higher than other grocers, therefore we need to make sure that people understand the products explains Lydia Burns, head of artisanal cheese, bread, and wine for Pastoral. For this reason, we organise many events with our producers, for example, with cheese and wine makers. We provide our clients with informational material and we’ve noticed that they return even after long periods of time.

Kings Super Markets – Balducci’s

Kings Super Markets – Balducci’s are also convinced that store events are important in order to present and explain their products. “Piazza Italia”, for example, is very successful as it is an event entirely dedicated to Italian products where cooking shows take place and customers have the chance to taste the products. We create fun. That is what people want, explained Scott Zoeller, vice president of Deli, Meats & Seafood at Kings Super Markets and Balducci’s.

Di Bruno Bros

Emilio Mignucci, owner of Di Bruno Bros, has underlined how important the Italian heritage is for the chain. Roughly 70% of the offered assortment is Italian and about 25% of it is represented by cheeses. What requirements do you need to enter the American market? The buyers all agreed on the fundamental requirements: to have all of the food safety requirements in place, to be transparent, to choose the right distributor, and to trust your partner. It is also necessary to use social media, to have good packaging, and to be prepared to have a story to tell.