In the boot-shaped country swaddled in the Mediterranean, Italy’s claim to fame- their incredible food – has always been ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to high quality ingredients (which is no surprise to healthy food marketers).


Italians spend more than double the percentage of their income on food as compared to the US, which pays off big in increased life expectancy of about 3.37 years longer than Americans.


In Italy, despite the slower pace and hour-long coffee breaks you’ll see in any piazza, the countries’ easy-does-it approach to life does not translate to their approach to food. As the centerfold of their culture, attention to process and commitment to quality almost always leads to high quality brands Italian consumers willingly pay more for.



As the US food industry changes to match a fresher and higher quality diet, we are starting to see some similar commitments among consumers. To the healthy food marketers’ delight, smaller specialty shops and specialty brands with more emphasis on where food is coming from, and a clearer understanding of who is making it are popping up everywhere.


Millennials, who have re-shuffled the grocery industry by shopping at several food stores instead of just one, are responsible for Whole Food’s new endeavor, 365.

The new food store opens next year and will offer high-quality, fresh foods at great prices.


Lets look at favorite Italian brands that are starting to feel the love here from today’s consumers.


De Cecco pasta, one of the most popular dried pasta brands in Italy since 1886 tells the story of hand-picked wheat, fresh semolina, and low temperature drying. It is all about the highest quality and the highest standards. And although it can be found literally in almost every store in Italy, it is still considered high-end here in the States.


Another great Italian brand, San Pellegrino is slowly gaining traction here. “Purity of water,” their slogan, capitalizes on the 30-year, underground cycle the water must go through before it emerges as the standard of sparkling water- agua con gas– stocked in all bars and restaurants throughout Italy.


The US has only recently begun adopting this trend in a big way, and in 2014 sparkling water accounted for 3.1% of all bottled water


I’m thrilled to say I’ve recently seen it in my local grocery store and can even find it in my Walgreens.


Similarly, illy coffee, one of Italy’s favorite brands, began as an artisanal commitment to good coffee and is now sold in over 140 countries.


The premium brand is sold in the States at 15% a higher price than Starbucks. Although traditionally targeting a niche market of upscale coffee drinkers in America, illy’s expanded its marketability this past fall with the introduction of their k-cup line. Still, the norm for Italians is still pretty far from an every day brand in the States and is generally regarded as an upscale brand.


Happily the food industry in the US is starting to show some similarities to countries that know what good food is all about, like Italy.


Stories of care and commitment go a long way with today’s consumers so healthy food marketers who want to really connect with these consumers might want to start telling theirs.

What American marketers can learn from the brands Italy loves. Some inherent qualities of Italian food, fresh ingredients, a commitment to quality and a dedication to their craft could help American brands grow.