With more and more consumers looking for gourmet products, retailers and foodservice providers hoping to capitalize with authentic items sourced from some of the finest artisan producers on the Apennine Peninsula can look to Italian Products USA as a one-stop shop for Italian imports.
I recently had the opportunity to catch up with CEO Cecilia Ercolino to find out more about the import company.
“More than 17 years after its founding, Italian Products USA has become an important presence in the gourmet landscape around North America,” said Cecilia. “We have developed a vast knowledge and expertise in selecting genuine ingredients and riding new product trends. We share valuable information about the uniqueness of production techniques, along with tips, recipes, and new features.”
Established in Bologna, Italy, in 1994 by developer Stefano Frascari, Italian Products Srl began as a way to share delicacies with friends in New York City. The company quickly expanded to include a full line of products from artisanal manufacturers throughout Italy, and by 2000, Italian Products USA had opened its first U.S. offices, along with a warehouse, in the state of New Jersey.
Now, with customers ranging from foodservice giants like Chef’s Warehouse, PFG, and Sysco, to Whole Foods, Dean & DeLuca, and independent retailers like Zabar’s and Zimmerman’s, Italian Products is both large enough to supply ample amounts of specialty product and nimble enough to source unique specialty items for niche markets.
“We can offer delectable specialties from a specific region of Italy—Tuscany, Puglia, Sicily, Marche, Piedmont, Friuli, and anything in between—from sweet to savory, offering a palette of tastes, textures, and ingredients of rare magnitude for a specialty company like ours,” Cecilia added. “Selections include: Panforte di Siena in all their declinations, cookies and regional treats, creams of almond and pistachio, datterino tomato (red and the delicate yellow variety), a vast assortment of extra virgin olive oil, truffle products, sauces, different kind of pastas, rice, farro, coffee, spreads, balsamic, and more.”
The company offers an assortment of items that satisfy both consumers’ pallets and the stricture of hard-to-negotiate regulation. Italian Products is certified in the FSMA project with PCQI consultants on staff in the U.S. and Italy to ensure FSVP compliance and make sure its customers and their shoppers are reliably stocked with the highest quality products.
“We carry only Italian genuine artisan products, sourced with care and attention to manufacturing standards,” continued Cecilia. “With the current outlook of the new FDA regulations, it is not easy to identify producers who captures the essence of a territory and its traditions while being able to provide enough product and technical details up to our demanding quality standard. We created our own niche for original products, but it is not easy to manage expectations and deliverables from the two sides of the Atlantic.”
Almost two decades after being founded as a friendly venture, Italian Products is still innovating and delivering heretofore unavailable products to the U.S. market. From staples like outstanding extra virgin olive oils from across Italy, to rare treats like fresh truffles sourced from the hills of Bologna and Filotea egg pasta meticulously prepared by master pasta makers each day, the company is constantly working to bring the best possible product to U.S. audiences.
In fact, Cecilia told me, the company even offers the first ever authentic Bolognese meat ragu imported to the U.S. American consumers can now purchase the original meat sauce made by Amerigo, a Michelin starred restaurant established in 1934 in the Samoggia Valley.
For more information on this and other outstanding specialty food providers, stay tuned to Deli Market News.