In the United States, authentic Italian pasta has traditionally had two competing poles—quality and convenience. Freshness and flavor, we thought, could be spared for the latter and ease of preparation for the former. But Fratelli Beretta’s new Viva la Mamma line is turning the paradigm on its head—with six fresh and never frozen pasta dishes that serve up in just two minutes.
I spoke with Simone Bocchini, President of Fratelli Beretta USA, to learn more about the line making its U.S. debut.
“Good Italian food can come out of the microwave. And Fratelli Beretta, with Viva la Mamma pasta, created a recipe that’s very similar to a home-cooked Italian meal—with sauces made from scratch and truly al dente pasta imported from Italy,” said Simone. “All of these recipes are made fresh. The sauces are made from scratch every day, and they’re boxed and packaged daily. So, there is no excess inventory—just fresh pasta delivered daily.”
Viva la Mamma pasta kits are available in six varieties, including:
“The product comes in a container that resembles a take-out food container, a little bit. The idea was to create something with a very high portability that's easy-to-use. So, as you open the package, you find a spork that is supplied with the product. You lift the lid of the package to vent as you microwave for two minutes. And, when it comes out, you use the spork to mix the sauce and pasta. It’s very quick,” explained Simone. “What we’re finding is that as soon as the consumer tries the product, they’re hooked. It can pretty much be prepared and consumed anywhere—in an office space or college dorm—anywhere.”
Unlike frozen products that can take 10 to 12 minutes in the microwave—or 45 minutes in a conventional oven—Viva la Mamma pasta kits are convenient to buy, eat—and prepare. Simone tells me that the company’s latest line in the U.S. has already found footing in Italy and throughout Europe, where Fratelli Beretta’s fresh pasta kits are fan favorites.
“In Italy, Fratelli Beretta started the production of ready-to-eat meals about ten years ago—as a meal substitution—quick-to-prepare but, at the same time fresh, and natural,” noted Simone. “And those products took off tremendously both in Italy and throughout Europe; we sell very well in a number of countries outside of Europe. So about a year ago, we decided to experiment with this product in the United States. We began remodeling an existing facility that we had here in New Jersey for the production of Viva La Mamma pasta. We just started shipping about 6 weeks ago, and we currently have distribution in ShopRite in the New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut area; and we’re going to be hitting Jewel Osco September 16.”
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