Sponsored by Italian Trade Agency
The Italian Trade Agency (ITA), a governmental entity, is very busy heeding the growing consumer push to add value through authenticity in the purchase of food and wines. The ITA is pursuing its multi-million dollar “Made in Italy” campaign to educate consumers and retailers about the value of Authentic Italian products, in contrast to those that are imitations, and to gain distribution and accessibility to U.S. retailers’ shelves. Private label products have become the key to success for many retailers seeking to differentiate themselves from competitors.
The ITA Chicago office supports U.S. retailers looking to build out their Italian private label suppliers’ portfolio, thus offering consumers a greater selection of products across multiple price points, helping them to raise sales and profits. This strategy will provide options for those shoppers who might not be big spenders but still insist on quality and value.
The ITA is poised to take advantage of this growing trend within the food marketplace and is working to extend its Authentic Italian in-store promotions with an engaging, consistent and dedicated messaging across retailers’ brick and mortar stores, websites and social accounts.
It is no secret that Americans love Italian specialty products. In a 2019 YouGov survey, 88% of U.S. consumers said that they like Italian food, making it the country’s most popular non-American type of cuisine. While many Americans are most familiar with pizza, there also is the fact that pasta, sauces and olive oil have become pantry staples nationwide and the demand for these items, in particular for those sourced from Italy, has only been increased by the pandemic.
There are two upcoming opportunities for U.S. retailers to source Italian private label products. The first is the Private Label Week virtual exhibition organized by the Private Label Manufacturers Association scheduled to take place from February 1st through the 5th where the ITA Chicago office will showcase a selection of unique food, beverages, health and beauty “Made in Italy” products from over 70 Italian leading manufacturers of private label products.
The second event is Marca Trade Exhibition held annually in the beautiful Italian city of Bologna. Now in its 17th edition, Marca is organized by BolognaFiere and is Italy’s only trade exhibition entirely dedicated to the private label business and the second largest private label trade exhibition in Europe, with nearly 900 companies showcasing products of excellence, mostly made in Italy. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, the 2021 edition of Marca, traditionally scheduled during the second week of January, has adopted a rather unique formula combining a 10 day virtual platform for B2B meetings (from March 15th through March 25th ) and a two day in person trade exhibition scheduled on March 24th and 25th. ITA Chicago is already actively promoting the show, facilitating registrations by U.S. buyers and other professionals.
Let’s now take a closer look at an important product segment, pasta. On the demand side, in 2020 the Italian market research firm Doxa carried out a survey, on behalf of the Italian Food manufacturers’ association and the ITA, that found 56% of American respondents saying they eat pasta between one and four times per week. One in four of the 5,000 people surveyed across Italy, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the U.S. reported increasing their pasta consumption during the COVID-19 lockdown. Additionally, pasta consumption increased by 40% in the U.S., Canada and Australia, outpacing the growth of well-established markets such as the U.K. and the Netherlands.
On the supply side, Hy-Vee, thanks to the collaboration with the ITA, launched an Authentic Italian private label line under their brand “Gustare Vita” which translates to “Enjoy Life”, achieving great success with their customers. In 2020 the selection of the “Gustare Vita” private label products reached over 116 SKUs attesting to the popularity of their private label line. Target also introduced Good & Gather Signature, an offshoot of the private brand Good & Gather, which debuted last fall. The line includes an extensive selection of imported pastas and sauces. Many of the price points are slightly higher than the retailer’s standard Good & Gather selections, offering premium products at an affordable price.
In closing, U.S. consumers, now more than ever, are looking for new premium-quality authentic offerings at the right price points. Retailers are increasingly realizing that they can import products from Italy and offer a high-quality product in a way that maintains similar margins to those seen by retailers who use domestic products. A great resource for U.S. retailers searching for Italian private label producers is the ITA’s promotional website www.italianprivatelabel.com. The website showcases company profiles of leading Italian manufacturers and provides full contact information for ITA, useful for those executives and buyers who want to know more about the Agency’s support when it comes to expanding the Authentic Italian product’s range on their shelves.
Look to Italian private label products for outstanding quality and manufacturing tradition at the right price point. Your success will be guaranteed.