Alessio Gambino (Founder and CEO of Magnifico Food)

Il futuro dell'export del cibo italiano in America: We the Italians in partnership con Magnifico Food

Nov 11, 2019 4609 ITA ENG

Italian exports to the United States are growing, but we can do better, really much better. It's one of our goals here at We the Italians, to help Italian products arrive and be bought by Americans, not just those of Italian heritage, who are obviously the first ambassadors of Made in Italy.

Food is for sure the first sector we think about: Italy is the biggest superpower in the world in terms of taste, quality and diversity, and exports contribute more and more to our economy. That's why we are very pleased to announce today a new partnership with Magnifico Food, a courageous and innovative company led by Alessio Gambino, a friend of We the Italians and an old personal friend of mine, an expert in internationalization and a true connoisseur of how to help Italian products on the American market. These are excellent Italian products, which come directly from small and medium Italian producers: delicious food at a reasonable price delivered to your home in a few hours. Starting today there is a 10% discount for readers of We the Italians: the code is WTI2019. You will have to insert it after you select your products, on the cart page.

Alessio, your success story in the field of internationalization of Made in Italy began more than 15 years ago. Tell us briefly the story of IBS and the Exportiamo portal, maybe with a few numbers…

I started working on Italian exports in 2004, founding IBS Italia, a company that has grown over time and now employs more than 15 people. The passion for foreign trade was something that I had right from the start. The opportunity to travel for work and pleasure is still an incentive to continue to grow professionally in this sector.

7 years ago I founded, an online portal dedicated to internationalization and international trade. There was nothing online to collect information to help Italian companies in exporting or investing abroad. With we have filled this gap! Today our site is visited monthly by more than 50,000 visitors and we have a community of over 40,000 contacts.

Since you opened an office in New York you have also participated in several events, first of all the Fancy Food Events. Can you explain how they work and what you found out about their effectiveness?

The United States was the main market for my consulting business right from the start. There are many companies that look to the American market as an outlet for their products or to make investments. The USA is the most important destination market for Italian products outside Europe. Fairs are still a valid showcase even if their effectiveness depends on the degree of preparation and organization of the exhibiting company. It is necessary to prepare in time and to manage the follow-up phases very well. Fancy Food is a very important showcase for displaying your products, but it is not enough on its own to find commercial outlets. You need to be present and have a well-structured offer for the local market.

Can you give us any data on the export of Italian food and wine products to the United States? How is the trend?

Made in Italy food plays a fundamental role and is worth about 40 billion euros in exports. The positive trend of recent years could suffer a reduction if the recent increases in duties introduced by President Trump should make the products already present and known by the American consumer too expensive (for example for cheeses such as pecorino and parmesan).

For Magnifico Food nothing changes, we will absorb any increases that the products affected by the duties may incur. Our consumers will find it even more convenient to buy on our website.

Let’s talk about the birth of Magnifico Food, of which We the Italians is a happy and proud partner. What's different, and why?

The distribution of Made in Italy food products in the American market has historically seen the use of various professionals, such as importers, distributors, brokers, agents, final retailers and/or large retailers. This long supply chain still makes our products too expensive and does not benefit the American consumers who find themselves paying dearly for this chain! Magnifico Food was created to allow even small producers of quality Italian food in compliance with the Food and Drug Administration to export their products to the U.S. at the best price for the American consumer. Magnifico Food directly imports the products it sells on the website without intermediary costs and delivers throughout the United States thanks to its warehouse located in New Jersey.

Quality, Price and Service. Three components of marketing for the benefit of consumers and producers!

I really like the section dedicated to storytelling: Italian excellence is not only in the product, but also and perhaps especially in the tradition combined with innovation, process, research, genius ...

Telling, explaining, informing are necessary actions for an online retailer like Magnifico Food in order to educate the consumer toward a purchase targeted to his consumption needs and his eating habits. Many products are not known or cooked in the right way; through the blog section of the site we promise to help our customers to use what they buy in the right way and with the right information about the product and the Italian manufacturer. We have a lot of excellence in Italy and we must ensure that more and more consumers come into contact with our producers and appreciate their quality and authenticity.

What types of products are part of Magnifico Food? And what do you foresee for 2020?

On Magnifico Food you can currently find products such as olive oil, vinegar, pasta, tomato sauce, sauces, pestos, cakes, etc. Every four months we introduce new products on the portal and we aim to reach more than 1500 different references listed online by the end of next year. A wide range of products all strictly Made in Italy! I recommend the extra aged balsamic vinegars of Modena or, for example, our range of extra virgin olive oils from companies such as Redoro (Veneto) and Piano (Apulia).

What do you think about the phenomenon of Italian sounding?

It's not good for our export, but we don't have to be victims to it. There is competition and we must face it with quality information. It's the only weapon with which to fight the phenomenon.

Let's give a small preview to our readers on what kind of events we want to plan together for next year.

We are an online portal but we have to be among the people, engaging and trying to talk about our products and the stories behind them. We want to participate in Italian festivals in the U.S. and/or small food fairs that take place every month in the most diverse areas of the country. We will do it together with We the Italians and its readers, who we will involve together.  

Do you have an idea why Italy is such a great superpower in food and wine, with such an exceptional variety and diversity?

Fortunately, we have such a widespread and varied diversity throughout the country that sometimes it is the Italians themselves who do not know the uniqueness and local recipes. We need to educate and inform. There is so much to tell to enhance our olive oil, food and food culture behind every product and dish. In 2022, American consumers will spend over 100 billion dollars on online food purchases. We must be ready with the best that Italy is able to present and offer.

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