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While simplicity is one of the keys to Italian food’s success in the UK, that’s not to say that fine food shoppers won’t be looking for story, provenance and proof of quality in the Italian products they purchase.
“Our recent research showed that consumers ultimately associate Italian food credentials with great taste, however authenticity and quality is the key to driving repeat purchase in retail,” says Matteo Ferrari, chef and co-founder of White Rabbit Pizza.
Indeed, according to Peri Eagleton – who co-founded Seggiano with her husband David over 30 years ago, “Authenticity, great taste, organic and ethical credentials” are vital to Italian food’s strong reputation in the UK.
Seggiano’s extensive range of fine quality produce – from pasta and sauces to flatbreads, condiments, storecupboard staples to sweet indulgences – is testament to its philosophy of never compromising on quality. “There are plenty of Italian producers who capitalise on the roots of Italian culinary excellence, whilst economising with cheaper ingredients and food production aids,” she explains.
“Seggiano on the other hand has gained brand reputation through ensuring authenticity, genuine provenance and by not cheapening the experience with poor quality ingredients.”
Lina Stores, a London institution for 78 years, has also put quality at the forefront of its plans since its inception. “Whether it’s in our delicatessens or in our restaurants, we have always put quality first: it’s at the heart of everything we do and it is never compromised,” explains Masha Rener, head chef at Lina Stores.
“This along with good old-fashioned Italian hospitality, are probably the main reasons why our guests keep coming back. They know exactly what to expect – from our cured meats to cheeses, and antipasti to fresh pasta, everything is of the best possible quality straight from regional Italy.
“We want Lina Stores to be a place everyone can come to – from Italians missing their Italian food from back home to Londoners who want a taste of authentic Italian cuisine.”
Italian food already holds an impressive market share of Italian food and drink, and this is set to grow according to Claudia Galetta, strategic partnerships director at Bellavita – (the 2023 edition of which takes place at London Olympia 21st -22nd June.
“The UK is the 4th country for imports of food and beverage from Italy after Germany, France and USA, and although Brexit is causing quite a few prices increases and difficulties to import from small producers, the demand will continue to grow,” she says.
And while the cuisine is a strong seller on supermarket and independent shelves alike, there’s plenty more for all to discover – buyers and consumers alike.
“There is an amazing world of Italian food to discover,” Claudia continues. “I still recall when only a few years back Burrata, Stracciatella, pinsa, fregola, pistacchio pesto, colatura di alici and much more were not known in the UK or certainly not known by consumers.”
It is the role of fine food buyers to discover excellent new products for their customers to enjoy, something which Bellavita is proud to support.
“Bellavita Expo is the result of 12 months of scouting,” says Claudia, “and we pride ourselves on listening to buyers and ensuring they find the Italian products they are looking for at our show.”