Gustoso, a Business Network to Bring the Best of Sicilian Food Products to the USA

Oct 11, 2017 1153

It is an ambitious project as for the first time 12 leading businesses in the agri-food sector have come together under the same brand to conquer the shelves of large-scale retail shops in the USA.

The project Gustoso Sicilian Food Excellence has been cleverly outlined by Daniele Cipollina, the founder of the business network, and Paolo Internicola, the Managing Director of Gustoso Import USA, sole importer and distributor for the large-scale retail channels and HoReCa sector. This new business network is based in Florida with offices in the Washington DC area and New York and has been purposely established to help medium enterprises operating in the Sicilian food sector to access the USA with their attractive, traditional, unspoilt, DOP and IGT products which are the best expression of the history and heritage of the area where they are produced.

Molini Riggi, Birrificio Bruno Ribadi, Made Fruit, Marullo Spa, Azienda Vitivinicola Tonnino, Gustibus Alimentari, Miscela D’Oro, Asaro, Pannitteri, Pandittaino, Olive di Sicilia and Gustoso Export Promotion Italia are the businesses which have joined the Gustoso project so far, in order to more easily gain awareness and facilitate the purchasing of Sicilian food products on the US market under one, common brand, that is Gustoso.

Coordinated actions converge on a sole distributor based in the East Cost and strategic marketing plans and communication activities functional to helping the Gustoso products enter the American market.

<<Through Gustoso>>, explains Daniele Cipollina <<the companies share the same approach to the market and can benefit from economies of scale. The network therefore is an effective tool to come together and increase their competitiveness, besides benefitting of solutions and simplified procedures to stay in the foreign market: from export-related consultancy to commercial contract model, up to support in bidding for international calls for tender>>.

The project has ambitious goals: in 2018 it will aim at conquering the North American market while from 2019 onward a marketing strategy will be outlined to place Gustoso on the UK market, while the Chinese market will be analysed. The expected turnover for the first 24 months of activity will be 25 million dollars as provided for in the strategic business plan.

The first step of the ‘road map’ will be the positioning of about 30 lines of products with the Albertons, Walmart and Sam’s Club chains with the goal of initially testing 500 shops through cooperation agreements with the most important American distributors (Reese group, Kreative Group). In addition to that, Vitale Wine Distribution will organise and support the logistic and commercial distribution of all Gustoso wines and spirit, concludes Daniele Cipollina. 

The participating businesses: 

Molini Riggi: Since 1955, specialised in producing stone-grounded flours and pasta from ancient Sicilian wheats;

Birrificio Bruno Baldi: It produces Sicilian crafted beers with manually operated systems employing local raw materials;

Made Fruit: They make Organic Grape Sugar, Organic Carob Sugar, Date Sugar, Chocolate, Caramel, Hazelnut, Black Cherry, Red Fruits and Strawberry Toppings;

Marullo s.p.a.: An agrifood business specialised in processing pistachios and nuts;

Azienda Vitivinicola Tonnino: It is located in the Contessa Entellina, Salaparuta, and Poggioreale areas of the Valle del Belice where the microclimate is famous for the strong personality it transmit to the wines they produced;

Gustibus Alimentari: Sauces and vegetables preserves;

Miscela d’Oro: High quality coffee makers since 1946;

Asaro: Since 1916 it has been producing top quality olive oil, as proven by the many acknowledgements it has been awarded;

Pannitteri: Specialised in growing and processing citrus fruit and blood orange in particular;

Valle del Dittaino: A cooperative of durum wheat producers who verticalize the whole productive process from wheat grains to grounding and baking;

Olives of Sicily: Specialised in processing and distribution of olives to produce and market

“table olives” as a semi-processed product. The business’s work is centred on respecting nature, traditions, unspoilt taste, and enhancement of old Sicilian flavours, which originate products of the highest quality;

Gustoso Export Promotion Italia: The company has been purposely established to manage the trading and communication activities of the business network. 

Two well-known chefs support the Gustoso project by enhancing its products, namely Pasquale Caliri, the ambassador of Sicilian cuisine in the world and chef of the ‘Marina del Nettuno Yacht Club’ in Messina. It offers a cuisine based on seafood and elements of the Sicilian tradition to prepare the new trends of the culinary Avant guard. The other chef, Peppe Giuffre’ was born in Trapani but moved to Palermo. He cooks, studies and carries out research work to present and safeguard the story of the traditional heritage and gastronomy of Sicily.

Gustoso is also connected to the project ‘Eat Healthy, Eat Sicilian’ (Mangia sano, mangia siciliano) outlined by Codacons Sicilia with the participation of Assoutenti, Confeuropa Consumatori, Consaambiente, Codici Sicilia and Udicon with the aim of safeguarding the tangible and intangible Sicilian agrifood products as valuable assets.

The project also involves a series of other companies, such as: Nadia Fallica, Nadia Fallica is a jewellery designer with more than nine years experience in the international jewellery market. She will design an exclusive and customised present for Gustoso to pay tribute to the multifaceted beauty of Sicily. The idea stems from the project ‘I segreti del gusto’ [the secrets of taste] as a way to express her passion and love for this stunning island which can evoke the magic and history its flavours and colours convey; Ceramiche De Simone, a traditional brand since 1960 in the field of Sicilian and international artistic ceramics; La Coppola Storta, the company which reinterprets a piece of garment as a new icon of style and with an eye to contemporary taste to turn it into a trendy accessory, which has featured in international fashion shows; Antonello Blandi, the author of many exhibits in Italy and abroad who conveys his Mediterranean Taste in his works through the places and typical features of our landscapes he depicts, and the very bright colours he uses. The artist Antonello Blandi is going to make an exclusive work of art in a limited number of copies: the Sicilian traditional cart will be depicted on a canvas which is going to convey passion, love and joy in the classic Sicilian style. 

The Partners: 

Strong points of the project are the businesses network and also the partners which sustain it, such as Banca Igea (a bank with offices in Rome, Catania and Palermo) which is fundamental to providing a financial structure to export contracts and supporting medium-term projects also given its inherent role in mutuality. There are also: ADV Maiora (a communication and marketing company specialised in the food & beverage, and wine & spirit sectors); Fidimed (a cooperative company active in the banking and extended banking sectors); University of Palermo (with the department of agrifood sciences and technologies); University of Rome Three ‘Tor Vergata’ (with a II level master course in foreign trade and company internationalisation); Ibs Italia, Tokay Creative Studios, Prodea Group, Sopexa,, Hba Project, Beca Box Factory, Officine Grafiche, lvie (communication company with more than 40 offices throughout the USA and a leading entity in the large-scale-retail channels in-store communication); Bellaville Solutions, Crisafulli Express; Cooking School Ateneo del Gusto KÁNTHAROS, created upon an initiative of the association of chefs and pastry makers of Palermo, which organises here training courses with the awarding of professional qualification recognised in Europe; the ITALIAN CULINARY FOUNDATION (ICF),, a non-profit organisation aimed at promoting the authentic Italian cuisine and a better knowledge of Italian agrifood products (ICF promotes the project MAY-MEI Italian Culinary Academy,, a modern Institute of Italian cuisine aimed at hotels and restaurants in the USA and Asian and European Markets. There is also Giglio Group a leading e-commerce company in the field of radio/television broadcasting; it has developed modern digital solutions and is a digital market place at a global level in the online fashion business. It supplies the 30 best digital retailers in the world. Giglio Group produces multimedia contents which are then broadcast in 46 countries, 5 continents, in 6 languages through its television channels. Visiva Marketing Tools is an excellent actor in the field of digital printing for advertisement from small to big formats. DiapasHome International Real Estate is a Business Real Estate located in Forte dei Marmi/Miami/Santo Domingo; Grand Hotel Villa Igea, one of the most luxurious hotels in Sicily with 122 rooms and 12 suites. During its long activity, it has accommodated most of the illustrious personalities who have visited Palermo in addition to many Italian football teams including Inter, Milan and Juventus. The hotel became part of the Acqua Marcia Group in the 1990s.

The Media partners: 

- Panorama
- Radiocor
- Mark up
- Italian Food Excellence
- Food & Beverage
- I Love Italian Food
- We The Italians
- VdG magazine - Viaggi Del Gusto
- Economy
- Italplanet

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