Almonds, flour, and olive oil: Italy goes natural at major organic US show

More Italian companies debut at Natural Products Expo East
Almonds, flour, and olive oil: Italy goes natural at major organic US show

By Antonella Ciancio

A growing group of Italian producers have debuted last week at a trending organic food trade show in the United States betting on a simple, natural, quality offer compared to their most adventurous U.S. competitors.

Companies like vinegars leader Ponti, grains and seeds specialist Pedon, Sicilian almonds exporter Sicilia Mandorle,Sicilian dry fruit specialist Gelfruit Italia, organic and non-GMO flour leader Molino Grassi, Parma-based prosciutto maker Casale, olive oil maker Bellucci and renowned coffee roaster Illy were among the 1,450 brands hosted at the 31st annual Natural Products Expo East (Baltimore, September 21-24).

The essential, natural quality of the Italian products on display impressed for their simplicity compared to the more experimental U.S. offer that included chips made with cricket flour, hempseed paleo-friendly burgers and all sorts of protein-based foods, meatless, and dairy alternatives.

CORE MISSION. However, all the exhibitors shared the same mission: catering to a growing number of consumers of natural and organic food and beverages, whose U.S. sales increased by 10.6% to 68.9 billion dollars in 2015, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.


A tour of the colorful sold-out trade show, which attracted a total of 450 first-time exhibitors and 28,000 community members, confirmed how Italian companies are looking with strong interest at the natural and organic food market and are willing to go overseas to prove they can innovate while remaining loyal to a century-old tradition.

US DEBUT. Most Italian participants told they were for the first time at Expo East, and had joined the Baltimore show after taking part in the world’s leading trade fair or organic food Biofach in Nuremberg, Germany (Expo East partners with Biofach America, which offers organic, certified international companies exhibiting in Nuremberg an easier admission process).


Looking at single proposals, Ponti presented its unfiltered apple cider vinegar, as well as a larger pesto jar and its selection of vinegars. Molino Grassi showed a variety of organic flours for different use and needs, while Casale offered a tasting of its hormone-free, 100% vegetarian feed, antibiotics-free prosciutto, in a campaign aimed at proving how Italian ham can meet demand for no-additive, no-preservative, all-natural food.


Of the U.S. general population, 50% believes organic foods and beverages are safer to eat, compared to 41% in 2006, according to a 2015 survey presented by the Nutrition Business Journal.

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