This week, at FMI Connect 2015, the Italian Trade Agency (ITA) announced it will introduce a new public education campaign launching this October in the U.S. highlighting the benefits and value of “Made in Italy” food and beverage products. Italy is the first nation ever to be named “Host Country” at FMI Connect taking place in Chicago June 9-11. During the three-day event, the ITA has showcased and introduced more than 50 authentic Italian food and beverage manufacturers to retailers representing every major U.S. market.
Beginning this fall, coinciding with the celebrations of Columbus Day, this nationwide campaign will focus on product education informing consumers and retailers of the quality ingredients and manufacturing traditions of authentic “Made in Italy” products. The $25 million dollar campaign will include print and online advertising, in-store support such as shelf talkers, end cap displays, couponing, digital promotions, recipes, sampling and events featuring top Italian chefs.
Furthermore, in-store promotion is planned at retailers within four key states including California, Texas, Illinois, and New York initial retail partnerships will include H-E-B, Mariano’s and Price Chopper. This is a tremendous opportunity for U.S. retailers and their private brands selling authentic Italian made products to leverage the campaign and increase their sales.
The U.S. represents the largest market value for worldwide, large-scale consumer categories and is the primary market for Italian exports of these categories outside Europe. In the past several years, the export of Italian food and beverage products to the U.S. has continued to grow and has led to Italian gains in the market with respect to competing European countries.
Trade data supports performance and customer appreciation of authentic Italian products in America. Italian exports to the U.S. have generated $4.28 billion in dollars (2014) and the Italian export trend was up +6.2 percent from 2013. The Italian market share is 3.2 percent and Italy’s position is eighth (2014) in the ranking of country suppliers for food and beverages sold in the U.S. Export value for 2014 and from January to March 2015 is up +0.6 percent, making Italy currently the seventh largest foreign supplier. Italy was also the first international supplier in the U.S. for wine, extra virgin olive oil, cheese, pasta and mineral water.
“This has been a positive evolution for Italy, however the distribution of authentic Italian products is still limited through U.S. mass retail channels,” said Roberto Luongo, CEO of the Italian Trade Agency. “We are determined to introduce the best of quality products available in these markets, exported from Italy and representing tradition that can be tasted.”
The ITA’s U.S marketing campaign is focused on three core areas: raising awareness for the issue, building a reputation for “Made in Italy” labeling and creating relevance within the marketplace to recognize the value and price associated with true Italian products including distinguishing characteristics, traditions, recipes and customs. At times, products on the shelves sound and look authentically Italian, however they are not exports from Italy and may not have the same high-quality ingredients or created from the same manufacturing traditions.
“This campaign will begin the process of better educating America about the quality standards required of true, “Made in Italy” products,” said Matteo Picariello, Trade Commissioner, ITA Chicago. “Our hope is to educate shoppers so they can make quality purchases at retail and enjoy the best tasting products available on shelves.”