Sauces and preserves made of authentic Italian tomatoes and a variety of vegetables represent the new gourmet trend in the kitchen of consumers who want to create tasty dishes in just a few minutes. The United States imported 146.5 million dollars worth of jarred and canned vegetables from Italy in 2016, up 9.2% from the previous year, according to data compiled by the Italian Trade Agency. Vegetable preserves have jumped from the 12th place to the 9th in the list of the most exported food product from Italy to the US. By comparison, exports of tomato sauces were flat in 2016 from the year before. The positive performance in a still relatively new market for Italian preserves is driven by high end and versatile products in smart packaging and “ready-to-eat” kits. From the classic black olives in brine to hand-picked fresh mushrooms stir-fried and seasoned with oil and natural flavorings, these handy products are good for appetizers and quick meals. Pesto is no longer the exclusive realm of basil, as it is now made also of pumpkin, pistachio and Tuscan kale. Caper sauces, almond-and pistachio tapenade add to the rich offer of condiments for pasta and bruschettas. The flavorful variety of Italian tomatoes is also arriving in the US market. From cherry tomatoes and San Marzano to the yellow datterino, there is a plenty of choices to combine with any meal.
Why peeled tomatoes should be ‘explained’
Italy, a country where about 5 million tonnes of tomatoes are processed, wants to stand out by focusing on genuineness and authenticity: undoubtedly the strengths of Italian products. For this reason, the Anicav trade association has been working since 2014 on a new PGI certification for peeled tomatoes, which is expected to help the industry grow. Peeled tomatoes were the very first preserved tomato product,” debuts Giovanni De Angelis, Ceo of Anicav, and as such, they have always been an export-oriented product. Despite representing an excellence of Italian food tradition, it is often considered a ‘wingman’ which we can do without, while this product is an actual star of traditional Italian cuisine: without tomatoes, pasta and pizza would not be the same. We want to promote and protect it, hence the crucial PGI recognition. Meanwhile, the exports of crushed and peeled tomatoes in the United States have reached 78.9 million dollars.