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THE FANCY FOOD SHOW 2009 SHOWCASES QUALITY ITALIAN FOOD AND DRINK
Wine and pasta are among the main ingredients in the Mediterranean diet that exalt the virtues of the Italian agro-food industry. The international success of this sector cannot however be attributed solely to these two products, accounting as it does for 15.7% of Italy’s GDP and standing at 240 billion Euros. Also pre-eminent is the Italian food&beverage sector, which leads with typically Italian, organic products and ensures the most efficient monitoring systems in the world to guarantee the healthiness of food and drinks.
These are qualities that the North American market will be able to appreciate once again at the next edition of the Summer Fancy Food Fair, scheduled to take place at New York from June 28th -30th 2009.
ICE, the Italian Trade Commission, will take part in the US event with a collective participation bringing together around 250 exhibitors. Italy’s attendance will serve two purposes: to consolidate those positions on the local market gained by Italy’s most internationally competitive products, and to expand the range of Italian-made products in an ever more qualified and diversified a manner. Trade operators recognize the Summer Fancy Food Fair to be the main agrofood event in the US and the previous edition drew more than 22 thousand visitors and 2,518 exhibitors (up 5.4% on 2007).
In 2008, the United States imported Italian agrofood products to the tune of 2,634.89 million Euros (up 0.79% on 2007). The number one purchase by US consumers is wine, which accounts for 1,001.84 million Euros. Next on the list is olive oil (455,72 million Euros), dairy products (252.30 million Euros), pasta (192.12 million Euros), confectionery products (131.12 million Euros), mineral water (110.06 million Euros) and vegetable preserves and juices (107.07 million Euros). In total, Italian agrofood exports worldwide in 2008 came close to 26 billion Euros.
The figures are still strong, although the value of exports to the USA has remained relatively stable since 2007, with a few exceptions (vegetable preserves and juices, up 15.9%, and olive oil, up 4.3%). Trade operators say the crisis is to blame. Italian manufacturers however will not be put out by the economic situation, preferring to act. In early 2009, for instance, the ICE organized an “Italian Wine Week” involving three top cities on the east coast (Boston, New York and Miami) to promote the special qualities of Italian white and red wine and exalt the sheer diversity of the wine on the market, dozens of varieties each with its very own character, taste and territoriality.
Food is also at the forefront, with ventures promoting the culture of Italian food among American consumers. Two examples: Carli oil was launched in the US in January 2009. After a successful test phase, the Oneglia (Imperia) based concern proceeded to export its postal sales strategy which it has already implemented on foreign markets where the Ligurian brand has featured for years – namely Germany, France, England and Austria. To improve logistical efficiency, the company has opened an American office in Pennsylvania that will take responsibility for stocking. In the second half of 2008, instead, the “Salumeria Rosi” of Parmacotto was inaugurated in New York. This is the first ever international single-franchise shop of an Italian food industry. The sales point, with annexed restaurant, stocks luxury products such as cooked and uncooked prosciutto ham cured for up to 30 months, as well as the famed “culatello di Zibello” and Felino salami. The plan is to inaugurate a further three shops, also in Manhattan, over the next three years. This will require an overall investment of 5 million Euros, all in the interest of promoting quality Italian food.