Polls from recent food events in the US show that Americans have a passion for Italian food. Their curiosity about Italian products is constantly growing. After years of recession and crisis, their attention to quality food, traditional cuisine, and organic products is on the rise.
The watchword is “value”, and Americans are quite conscious of the relationship between quality and price. The price difference between organic and non-organic food has been reduced considerably, and now it is around 15%. According to the Organic Trade Association, the sales of organic foods in the United States have long passed those in Europe. The US is now the world’s largest consumer of natural and organic food.
As American interest in products from Italy grows, so does the number of “Italian fakes” on the market; products with Italian names whose labels state an Italian origin even though they come from other countries. This is especially in the dairy sector. Just think of the countless imitations and counterfeiting of Parmigiano Reggiano! For the first time, in 2014 the global production of fake parmesan and grana padano has overtaken that of the authentic Italian originals.
According to the organization of Italian farmers Coldiretti, last year the production of parmesan-like and grana-like cheeses exceeded 300 million kg, while in Italy cheese makers produced 295 million kg of genuine Parmigiano and Grana Padano.
Fortunately, American consumers are becoming increasingly aware. The growing trend is to explore beyond established mainstream products in order to identify those that represent not just a culinary delight, but also belong to local tradition, which tell a story, and represent a view into Italian life. Nearly a quarter of consumers of gourmet foods looks for specialties tried while on holidays – a particularly relevant factor considering the high number of American tourists travelling to Italy.
Supermarkets are a major provider of Italian foods in the USA, but the need of large retailers often does not allow small companies which produce excellent niche food products to reach consumers. More and more specialty shops and smaller chains serving a sophisticated and wealthy clientele play an increasing role in this context. But only online stores, with their capillarity and wide distribution, can guarantee everyone the opportunity to discover and taste the best products from Italy at affordable prices.
Starting from this scenario are springing up a variety of interesting projects online, bequeathed to the world of quality food. Ambitious projects bringing to the tables of Americans products that cannot be found anywhere else.