American consumers have learned to appreciate the world renown quality of authentic Italian food, which has become the largest international presence at the PLMA show, the largest North American trade event dedicated to the store brand industry. Anthony Aloia, Vice President of the Private Label Manufacturers Association (PLMA), which organizes the annual PLMA show in Chicago, tells ItalianFood.net how the show has changed over the years thanks to the presence of international food exhibitors led by Italy.
When food outpaced non-food
When the show first began, in the 1980s, it was a non-food show, it was about health and beauty care, laundry detergents, cleaning products. Over the last 20 years, we have seen a complete reversal of the show, Aloia told in an interview at the Italian Pavilion of the PLMA show. We are now 70% food and 30% non-food. One of the key areas of growth are the international pavilions. Specifically, right now the Italian pavilion organized by the Italian Trade Agency is the largest pavilion in the show, Aloia added.
Italian food authenticity is key
American consumers are increasingly looking for transparency about the authentic sourcing of their products, which gives Italian products an advantage given the history of the country’s culinary culture. Italian quality products are out of the world. Today, the US market demographics are changing, and consumers are looking for more authentic products. Ethnic and Gourmet products are very trendy, Aloia said. However, everyone can make products but if it doesn’t come from Italy, it’s no longer authentic. The American consumer today is much more educated and looking to see where the product is being sourced. Today, products coming from Italy, specifically for the store brand industry, are important for this generation and the younger generation, the manager said.
Watch the full interview here: