While waiting for the first container of the Gustoso products, which is expected to reach the United States on February 2018, the managers of the project Daniela Cipollina and Paolo Internicola and the representatives of the businesses which have joined the network will land in New York. The framework event is called ‘The Best Italy’ and is organised by the Italian weekly magazine Panorama and follows in the footsteps of the project presentation of last week in Palermo.
The Business Network Gustoso Sicilian Food Excellence will be the main actor of the workshop revolving around the theme of food and how to introduce and consolidate the presence of Italian products in large-scale distribution chains in the US. It will take place on Wednesday, 1 November.
The prestigious Downtown Association located in the heart of Manhattan will host: Frank Cascio – Chairman of Gustoso Import USA, Kay Young – Category Management Expert for Walmart/Sam’s Club, Heather Schiederer,– Managing Partner Kreative, Vittorio Giordano – Vice Chairman of Urban Truffles, Marco Caprai – Arnaldo Caprai vine-grower in Montefalco, Dino Barri – General Manager Eataly North America, Michela Giuffrida – member of the Agriculture Committee of the European Parlaiment, Catiuscia Marini – Governor of Umbria Region.
Not only words… A sampling of the Gustoso products will be organised at the end of the workshop by its Chef/Ambassador Pasquale Caliri of the restaurant ‘La marina di Nettuno Yachting Club’ of Messina. He will also coordinate the charity dinner organised at the Guggenheim Museum on Thursday 2 November.
The event will be the opportunity to present the leading company representing the Gustoso business network in the United States, namely the Gustoso Import Promotion USA, which will enable the companies to start operating in that market without having to receive support from different suppliers: from lawyers to tax advisors, from unions to the local government offices. The Gustoso Import Promotion USA will be based in Florida with offices in Washington DC and New York. It will deal with import paper work and compliance with FDA guidelines for more complex products such as preserves, cheese and all food specialties needing an import permit to access the US market. In addition to that, it will establish the selling network in the US by pooling together independent sales representatives, sales agents or distributors. Through the Gustoso Import Promotion USA the members of the business network will have the opportunity to benefit from a local logistic structure. The logistics hub of the Gustoso Import Promotion USA will guarantee fast enough delivery of orders: within 48h (often even 24h). Gustoso Import Promotion will be in charge of the commercial and legal management of all the Gustoso products.
Gustoso will begin with its first eleven businesses (Molini Riggi al Birrificio Bruno Ribadi, Made Fruit, Marullo srl, Azienda Vitivinicola Tonnino, Gustibus Alimentari, Miscela D’Oro, Asaro, Pannitteri, Valle del Dittaino, Olive di Sicilia) and about thirty lines of products, which will initially be placed in around 500 shops to test them with American consumers. This will allow the managers to better organise distribution through large-scale distribution channels such as Albertsons with its 2500 shops and Walmart with 11.600 shops (in the United States and South America) in order to receive commercial feedback in line with what provided for by the feasibility plan.
A research recently carried out by Nomisma in cooperation with Cribis has highlighted that Italian agri-food products are very popular in North America: they rank first for preference in the United States, followed by French products. Also, the research shows a skyrocketing interest in the higher supplying capacity and a favourable trend towards purchasing Italian products although figures change according to the different areas (where purchases are based on different criteria also in relation to consumers groups). Such differences suggest targeted internationalisation and promotion strategies which should take into consideration also different product categories (DOP/IGP, institutional ones, etc.) and fill the gap of ‘unreached areas’.
At the same time, the research unveils emerging trends which can positively impact on the positioning of Italian F&B products without leveraging on the ‘price’ but on other characteristics, such as: organic and sustainable, social and cuisine, brand policies… However, those trends need to be well understood and managed to be beneficial.
“To meet the challenge posed by the US market” said Frank Cascio, Chairman of the Gustoso Import Promotion USA “we need to work on offering the US, Canadian and South American markets the excellence of Sicilian products, such as those gathered under the brand Gustoso. The goal is to bring to the shelves products with an interesting price which are perceived as top-quality ones. The challenge” continues Cascio “is also to help foreign consumers understand the profound difference between authentic products grown in Sicily and their imitation, which makes the difference in terms of ‘Gusto’ [taste]”.