Balancing innovation with tradition in Italian cuisine

28 July 2022, 07:47 AM
  • Do consumers want a modern twist on their Italian fare, or do they prefer classic flavours?
Balancing innovation with tradition in Italian cuisine

Italian cuisine is synonymous with tradition, with recipes passed down through countless generations, from one nonna to the next.

There’s nothing better than a Margherita pizza or a simple yet stunning cacio e pepe – and a Caprese salad made with the finest Mozzarella, the freshest tomatoes and basil and a drizzle of top-quality, authentic olive oil is second to none. Often, the simplest recipes are the best – they are classic dishes for a reason, after all.

But with innovation ripe in the food sector and the younger generation driving key trends such as flexitarianism and hyper-convenience, should retailers be refreshing their Italian offerings to reflect the trends?

We believe that traditional Italian products will always have pride of place on retailers’ shelves, from carefully crafted pasta to unbeatable PDO products, such as Parmigiano Reggiano or Proscuitto di Parma. That’s because we know the time, care and craft that go into such products, and their commitment to tradition brings a level of provenance that will lift any dish.

However, we also have a soft spot for innovation, and we have to admit, some of us love pineapple on pizza. Home cooking saw a huge spike in 2020-21 as aspiring foodies spent time making meals from scratch and experimenting with new flavours and cuisines. In fact, retailers noticed at-home pizza oven sales soaring, bought by consumers keen to explore the breadth and depth of their cooking abilities. There were surely some failed attempts, but a burnt crust never hurt anyone – just don’t tell Italy!

This balance between tradition and innovation is what keeps our industry so fresh and exciting, and keeps consumers coming back to fine food retail for more. But it also keeps indies firmly rooted in the rich culinary history of Italy, which is a glorious place to be.

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