The U.S. State of New Jersey is an international gateway for Italian food and beverage companies looking enter the North American market. From food processing and cold storage facilities to top global importers and corporate offices, New Jersey is the food capital of America. Over 1/3 of the major food firms in the U.S have a presence here. Companies can easily connect with manufacturers, packagers, distributors, wholesalers and retailers along the supply chain. New Jersey’s strategic location on the U.S. East Coast and robust transportation infrastructure help businesses produce and move products quickly. The State is also home to a highly skilled food manufacturing workforce and the second largest pool of food scientists and technologists in the U.S. to accelerate innovation.
New Jersey’s deep immigrant roots contribute to a diverse dining scene and ethnic food production hub. Italian heritage has long been a prominent fixture in New Jersey’s history and business community. As such, New Jersey is uniquely positioned for Italian companies to succeed. Italian companies enjoy a cultural match in New Jersey and a market demand for their products. More than 1.5 million Italian Americans call our State home and represent nearly 18% of the population. Like many others, Simone Bocchini, President of Fratelli Beretta USA, Inc., felt welcomed in New Jersey, stating, “the Berretta family is in love with New Jersey. It’s our point of entry, our starting point here in America.” Fratelli Beretta is the longest existing family-owned business in Italian charcuterie that makes much of its fine salami, mortadella and prosciutto in Mount Olive, NJ. The company supplies 75 percent of the prosciutto in the U.S.
Here are five more major Italian food and beverage companies succeeding in New Jersey with diverse product offerings including chocolate, coffee and olive oil.
#1 Ferrero North America
Third generation multinational company Ferrero Group is among the top three largest confectionaries in the world. With its North American headquarters located in in Parsippany, NJ, brands in its portfolio include Ferrero Roche, Nutella, Butterfinger, and CRUNCH. Ferrero was founded in 1946 in Alba, Piedmont, Italy, by Pietro Ferrero, a confectioner and small-time pastry maker who created Nutella. Ferrero first entered the U.S. market in 1969 with Tic Tac mints and continues to expand its presence here.
According to Paul Chibe, Global President of Sugar Confectionary and former President & CEO of Ferrero North America, “[w]hat’s nice about New Jersey is that it has access to the tristate area, one of the best educational systems […] and access to one of the best talent pools in the world. As you’re building a business, you basically can get everything you need in terms of people and support, and that can really lead to a lot of success.”
That’s right – New Jersey earned the #1 spot for educating students at all levels according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best States for Education 2021. New Jersey highly educated workforce attracts food and beverage R&D. Forty two percent of New Jersey’s workforce graduates from college with a bachelor’s degree or higher. The national average stands at only 33%.
#2 Colavita USA
A subsidiary of Italian company Colavita, Colavita USA is a family-owned distributor headquartered in Edison, NJ. The company produces olive oils, vinegars, pastas, and other specialty food products. Colavita’s extra virgin olive oil is among the bestselling olive oils in the U.S. and was an early pioneer of introducing authentic olive oil to the U.S market.
Citing the importance of New Jersey’s shipping ports, President and CEO Giovanni Colavita says, “[l]ogistically, there’s a huge advantage to being here in New Jersey. It’s very easy to do business here.” That’s because the Port of New York and New Jersey, the 2nd busiest port in North America and the largest on the East Coast, make it simple to import and export food products. New Jersey is the #1 state in the Northeast for share of food production exports.
#3 Caffè Borbone USA
Caffè Borbone USA, located in Fairfield, NJ, is a coffee importer and manufacturer. The company is the leading producer of espresso pods in Italy and is quickly gaining popularity in the U.S. with its convenient single-use packaging.
With a strategic location in the middle of the Boston – New York City – Washington D.C. corridor, New Jersey provides easy access to one of the most affluent consumer markets in the world. A distribution center in New Jersey can serve more than 38 million consumers within 150 miles. Companies like Caffè Borbone that rely on quick shipments and deliveries recognize that our State gives them a competitive advantage.
Buon’Italia, a staple within New York City’s historic Chelsea Market, is a gourmet Italian importer that recently crossed the Hudson River to open a warehouse distribution center in Jersey City. The company cited New Jersey’s transportation, access to ports, and proximity to consumer base as integral to their decision to expand operations here.
Many Italian companies looking to enter the U.S. market discover that New Jersey’s real estate offers more space for less money than neighboring New York. A New Jersey location has the closest proximity to New York City at a more affordable cost. What’s more, company officials that require travel from Italy to the U.S. enjoy access to the Newark – New York City – Philadelphia regional airport system offering daily nonstop passenger flights to ~600 locations.
#5 Rovagnati USA
Rovagnati USA is a leading charcuterie company based in Biassano, Italy. Rovagnati USA chose Vineland, NJ as its North American headquarters to process, distribute, and wholesale its selection of specialty meats. Currently under construction, the 500,000 sq. ft. facility will have areas dedicated to slicing and seasoning, and can thus create premium products directly on-site that perfectly meet the needs, tastes and expectations of American customers.
Choose New Jersey met Rovagnati at the Select USA Investment Summit in 2017 as the company was looking to break into the U.S. market. Our team provided a full range of concierge services from planning to purchase. We began with an overview of New Jersey’s economic profile and provided State assistance information. We also made introductions to a commercial real estate firm and our economic development partners in Cumberland County. We then conducted a site search and collaborated with municipal leaders. The City of Vineland approved the project in 2019.
Also located in Cumberland County, the Rutgers Food Innovation Center South (FIC) is the nation’s only certified “soft landing” food incubator. The FIC offers business and technical mentoring to international companies looking to enter the U.S. Their team can help with FDA food safety regulations, identifying American consumer preferences and marketing support in a competitive landscape.
Dr. Schär, Europe’s gluten-free market leader based in Italy, began its first U.S. operations at FIC. The company now operates a manufacturing facility in Swedesboro, NJ and will continue partnering with FIC for product development. In September 2021, Dr. Schär broke ground on a 42,000 sq. ft. expansion. Company officials indicated that the growth is needed to keep up with demand for gluten-free bread in the North American market. Choose New Jersey assisted the company with site selection services and connections to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) for potential investments as well as the Department of Labor and Workforce Development for workforce training grants and hiring needs. The expansion is expected to be completed in 2022.
Discover Your Second Home in New Jersey
The U.S. remains a growing and attractive market for Italian food and beverage companies. As consumers show increased interest in buying high-quality, authentic products, Italian food and beverage companies should consider expanding distribution and gaining access to U.S. retailers. New Jersey, specifically, is the best entry point for your business. Our State is home to a highly skilled, highly educated workforce, market access and robust transportation networks. There’s simply no better place in the U.S for your company to succeed. If you’re ready to explore growth opportunities in North America, Choose New Jersey is here to help you.
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