Dreams of panna cotta and Rome’s alleyways don’t seem so far away when the creators of Sweetaly Dolceria bring the fresh tastes of Italian sweets to retailers throughout the nation, harkening back to their youth in lo Stivale. My sweet tooth and I needed to know more about the company, its origin story, and where it plans to go next, so I reached out to Co-Founder Michele Santoro—who gave me the latest scoop on Sweetaly’s happenings.
“We’ve always been close friends,” he began, describing the deep-rooted comradery enjoyed amongst Co-Creators Oliviero Colmignoli, Stefano Amelio, and Gaetano Squillante. “We grew up together in Rome and spent all of our holidays together. We always had the idea that we wanted to create a business together.”
The company’s ideas first came about while the group of friends toured the Mediterranean one summer, where they became convinced that they could bring unique flavors that spring forth from their Italian heritage to the United States and beyond. With the American Dream in tow, the group set out to London for market research to find how desserts sold best in other European countries before making their way to Southern California. There, the company cozied into stateside business alongside Olli Salumeria, Sweetaly’s sister company opened by Oliviero, who created his own state-of-the-art facility for the companies to call home. Under the same roof as Olli, Sweetaly’s operations jumped into production in 2016, where it has since grown into the space as time brought new customers up and down the East and West coasts, Michele shared with me.
To catch the eye of the consumer in such a short span of time took thoughtful consideration in regards to marketing, though, and Michele divulged the company’s unique methodology.
“We wanted to create a company that didn’t already exist,” he told me, before expanding on some packaging strategies it is currently employing. “Consumers love our hand-pressed cakes lining the bottoms of our products and the shaved toppings. They can see them on the side because our packaging has a sleeve that slips over the top, leaving the sides open for them to see all of the ingredients through the clear glass jars. In addition to this, we added our logo on the top of the cap to make our products more branded.”
Now, Michele told me, the company is focused on expanding its line, all while continuing to use premium ingredients that are naturally lower in sugar with no additives or preservatives so as to capture the pureness in desserts that they savored in their hometown. After launching its Lemon Ricotta Cheesecake this last fall, the company caught wind of a hot ticket item from which it sought to build a fanbase. From there, Sweetaly’s newest flavors are Strawberry Ricotta Cheesecake and Plain Ricotta Cheesecake. Melding Italian ingredients with American must-have recipes, the company has effectively carved out a niche market, which offers desserts using fresh and quality ingredients in on-the-go packaging.
“We have found that we do best in grab-and-go sections of deli,” Michele told me. It is there, he continued, that consumers can finish their meals with the perfectly proportioned treat.
As the company makes further strides into the U.S. marketplace, it brings the sweet tastes Italy in new and exciting ways that can only be matched by the sweet American dreams that brought them to success.