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ITALIAN FOOD AIMS TO SEDUCE LARGE AMERICAN RETAILERS
Switch from Italian-sounding products to real food made in Italy. This is the goal of the Italian presence at Fmi Connect Chicago , an event devoted to the world of large retailers and retail in general to be held in Chicago from June 9 to 11.
ICE, the agency for the global promotion and internationalization of Italian companies, along with Federalimentare and the fairs of Milan, Parma and Verona, will organise a collective exhibition of 52 Italian companies covering an area of approximately 900 sq.m. This will be an outstanding opportunity for the Italian agrifood sector since, in the year of Expo Milan 2015, Italy will be the Guest of honour of the event.
The Italian collective exhibition will consists of a private Lounge and Meeting area devoted to show cooking and wine tasting, as well as an institutional area for project partners. Italian companies will be available to US retailers to present Italian products, from wine to olive, from mineral water to pasta, olives, rice, oil and salami.
The meeting in Chicago is especially important for large US retailers and the Italian agrifood industry. For companies, it represents a unique opportunity to raise their awareness level in a market which is often considered difficult to penetrate. In fact, despite the strong appreciation for Italian food, many of the products sold in the US belong to the so-called Italian sounding products, whereby Italy-evoking geographical names, trademarks and images are used to market products made elsewhere.
Globally, the annual turnover of Italian sounding products is estimated at around 54B EUR per year (147M EUR per day), more than double the value of Italian exports of food products (23B EUR). This problem is strongly felt also in the United States.
Fortunately, things seems to be changing as of late. In 2013, the export of Italian food products to the US grew by 10% and in 2014 by 6.5%, bringing Italy in ninth place in the ranking of countries supplying the US. This is an important indication from US consumers, especially during the years in which the exchange rate also penalised Italian products. In 2014, in fact, the Euro/US dollar exchange rate jumped to 1.4, whereas today's values are 25% lower and the purchase of Italian food products is much more affordable for consumers.
Regarding the wine sector, Fmi Connect will represent an opportunity to contact the best Italian manufacturers. Vinitaly International together with Vinitaly International Academy, in fact, will organize a series of events dedicated to increasing the awareness of wine labels deemed potentially interesting for the US market. Indeed, the US is the first export market for Italian wine products.