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“Our best-selling products tend to be high-quality imported goods from regions in Europe such as Caputo flour or San Marzano tomatoes from Italy,” says Matthew Blakely of online Italian food retailer Blake & Tate. “I’d strongly recommend ranging DOP certified San Marzano tomatoes for a start – they’re the world’s number one tomato for a reason, high-quality pizza and pasta flours from producers such as Caputo & Molino Dallagiovanna and high-end dried pasta from real Italian producers.
“These products are the best in the world,” he continues. “They are used by the best pizza and pasta chefs due to their amazing taste and quality. Customers who visit our website aren’t here to purchase items they could buy from a British supermarket. They come to get the best of the best from across the world and that’s enabled us to stand out from the crowd.”
Upgrading to high-quality dried pasta offers an opportunity for education as well. “In the UK there is the perception that ‘pasta is just pasta’ and why would you pay more for one pack of pasta than another?” says Sally Assinder of Garofalo Pasta. “Talk with customers or have information on why not all pasta is the same. Explain how the pack of pasta in the fine food retailer is different and better quality than the supermarket pasta and worth spending a little bit more to get the quality pasta experience in the dishes they make,” she advises.
According to Sally, fusilli is still the UK’s favourite pasta shape and the top shape for Garofalo in terms of volume. “As a result, pasta shapes with fusilli as part of the name are rising in popularity in our best-sellers list. Fusilli Lunghi, Fusilli Tricolore, Fusillone and Fusilli Bucati Corti give customers a new shape to add to their repertoire but with a familiar ring to the name, and they are proving popular,” she says.
Many shops have seen particularly strong growth in the pizza category, thanks to a lockdown boost. “In terms of thriving categories, we’ve seen the biggest surge in pizza-related products, such as pizza flour, tomatoes and toppings such as meats and drizzles. Our range of home-sized pizza equipment including dough trays and wooden pizza peels have also proved popular with many customers over recent months.”
Discover more about Italian food trends here.