Walmart Announces “Authentic Italian” Collaboration With The Italian Trade Agency

This past week Walmart and the Italian Trade Agency signed a collaborative agreement to develop a curated range of “Best in Class” private brand products imported directly from Italy. Spearheaded by the ITA’s Chicago office, the agreement is part of the continuing efforts, supported by the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, to increase the knowledge, awareness, and consumption in the United States of “Authentic Italian” food and wine products.

In 2016, the exports of Italian food and wine to the U.S. reached $4.6 billion USD, an increase of +4% from 2015. This increase comes primarily from growth in the following sectors: ice cream (+34,5%), cocoa based and sweet products (+31.5%), vegetable conserved in oil (+9.2%), rice (+8.8%), olive oil (+6.6%), wine (+6.6%), and fresh fruits and vegetables (+4.9%). While Italian exports have the number one market share in the U.S. for wine, olive oil, cheese, pasta, bottled water, and non-alcoholic beverages, “Authentic Italian” products have only just begun to scratch the surface of their potential given that the value of “Italian sounding” products sold in Northern and Central America amounts to $ 24 billion USD. The market research shows that more than 70% of Italian food exports to the United States are currently being sold through specialty stores rather than traditional retailer chains; the new collaboration with Walmart represents a major export opportunity for Italian food producers in the country.

The agreement was signed in Milan by the ITA’s president Michele Scannavini and Ms. Silvia Kawas, Walmart’s Vice President of Dry Grocery. The key mission of this collaboration is to increase sales opportunities for Italian exports and suppliers by driving awareness among Walmart shoppers of the quality of the full range of “Authentic Italian” products. Under the terms of this collaboration, the promotion of selected “Authentic Italian” products will be throughout Walmart’s retail network of more than 3,600 stores across the United States. The length of the agreement is of 12 months (from May 8, 2017, to May 7, 2018), with an opportunity of subsequent renewals. ITA will organize and support the participation of Walmart’s buyers in the major trade mission to Italy for their products sourcing. All the related marketing and promotional materials (signs, labels, brochures, online advertising, etc) connected to the authentic Italian products in Walmart’s stores will be featured using the “Extraordinary Italian Taste” logo.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.