Italian food makers presented quality, new ideas and natural, organic products at the Winter Fancy Food Show 2018 in San Francisco, the most important trade event in North America dedicated to the specialty food industry. The Italian pavilion organized by Universal Marketing with the key support of the Italian Trade Association (ITA, or ICE) was again the largest international presence at the show, which takes place on January 21-23. A total 54 companies presented their best quality ideas from salami to cheese, pasta, olive oil, gelato, flour, canned vegetables and sauces with cooking demos and tasting opportunities for buyers. We are happy to have Italy as our main partner of the Winter Fancy Food Show, said Phil Kafarakis, president of the Specialty Food Association, which owns and produces the Fancy Food Shows.
From the East to the West, a strong presence
Italy’s presence in both the East and West coasts of the United States is especially important to establish better control of a market presenting opportunities and challenges given the disruption of the retail space and competition from other exporters like France for wine and Spain for olive oil. Exports of Italian food and beverage to the United States increased 4% in the first 11 months of 2017 from the previous year, according to ICE data. Italy remains the world’s largest exporter to the US of olive oil (+3%), pasta (+2.4%), cheese (-0.2%), mineral waters (+12.2%) and balsamic vinegar (-2%). American consumers today are looking for authentic and tasty products of exceptional quality, something confirmed by the Italian companies that are presenting exceptional products coming from all their regions, Kafarakis said.
Premium quality: a winning bet
As the specialty industry becomes more mainstream, Italy is introducing new healthy snacking, premium quality pasta, and a larger selection of salami to entice demanding consumers who consider Italian food as a staple in their kitchen. The Italian Trade Agency of New York invited 15 buyers from the East coast and the Midwest of the United States to increase opportunities of networking, said Maurizio Forte, director of the ICE Agency in New York and coordinator of the US network. This is a precise choice aimed at improving networking between the Italian companies at the show and some dynamic, carefully selected, US operators interested in new products and new partnerships, Forte said. We are very proud of the work done, said Donato Cinelli, president of Universal Marketing, the exclusive Italian agent of the Specialty Food Association. Today the United States represent an ideal place to promote Italian companies. Our Made in Italy products is an integral part of the culture of beauty that Americans want, he said.