Innovation radiates like an aura from the region of Emilia Romagna. Olitalia—a company specializing in the highest quality of oils and vinegars—is at the helm of this forward drive. For over 30 years, it has been the leader of an Italian tradition that competes with the challenges of the future. Olitalia food-service sector leader in Italy is first and foremost a family story. The company is run by Angelo, Elisabetta and Camillo Cremonini, the sons of Giuseppe Cremonini, with over 50 notable years in the food sector, consecrated as an icon of the tradition and excellence of Italian gastronomy worldwide. Today, Olitalia continues to bring the added value of Italian food culture through a process of internationalization and modification that highlights and strengthens the past without erasing it. Tradition is the key to conquer the frontiers to come.
Angelo Cremonini, President of Olitalia, explained it well.
Olitalia’s evolution is closely linked to that of Emilia Romagna and to the development of the hotel and tourism sector in the region: how has the company been able to interpret and respond to the character and needs of the territory?
Olitalia is a company founded in Emilia Romagna, a region with which it has maintained strong ties, despite the fact that today the company is present in over 120 countries around the world.
Olitalia’s history is, in fact, linked to its region of origin. Emilia Romagna was characterized by a decade of exponential growth from 1970-1980. This boom rolled out specifically in the hotel and catering sector, driven by the development of tourism from both Italy and abroad. The sudden surge created a new need for restaurateurs: the small regular suppliers could no longer keep up. Solid reference points able to simplify the management of supplies, while guaranteeing high and consistent quality were needed. Olitalia was born during that time. Giuseppe Cremonini answered the call and Olitalia, as part of the process of diversification of IN.AL.CA (Cremonini Group), a company of which he was then owner together with his brother Luigi, was founded. Thanks to the entrepreneurial experience and the great knowledge gained in the most diverse food sectors—from meat to fast food, from frozen pizza to mineral water, from oils to vinegars—today the Cremonini family is a worldwide symbol Italian gastronomic tradition and quality.
Olitalia is the story of the Cremonini family—today a symbol and bulwark of tradition and quality of Italian gastronomy all over the world. How can you stay on course and remain a leader in the sector and always guarantee high standards in this ever-changing world?
By leveraging quality combined with a strong drive for innovation and, at the same time, by establishing privileged relationships with the world of catering, proposing reliable, innovative and quality solutions—all of this from the very start. Strengthened by success in the food-service sector, the company subsequently opened up to the world of retail, aiming to bring the same quality directly to the consumer that professional kitchens offer daily.
Moreover for olive oil production, the company uses its sophisticated ability to select excellent raw materials and mix them, to create oils with organoleptic profiles of quality, suitable for the different tastes of consumers in Italy and around the world.
The company has expanded its activities from food-service to retail: how do you safeguard the quality of your products for consumers and professional kitchens?
While continuing to innovate in an industry where it is often difficult to do so is a key factor, we continue to ensure the highest level of quality. We have structured a strict process for the selection and control of raw materials and processing operations and we undergo regular internal and external audits to ensure full traceability of products. Rigorous testing is carried out throughout the production chain, coordinated by an ad hoc department working in a recently expanded and modernized testing laboratory. Thanks to the new generation of instruments, the laboratory allows any type of analysis to be carried out to ensure maximum quality. For Olitalia “excellence” means adopting the highest standards at all stages of the production chain, as demonstrated by the adoption by the company – in addition to internal quality control – of the most important quality certifications, including:
- BRC Global Standard, for food safety;
- IFS, International Food Standard;
- Kosher Certification, for foods that meet all the requirements of the Jewish food laws of the kosherut;
- European organic quality certification BIO Europe;
- Halal Food Certification, for products permitted by Islamic law and edible, drinkable or usable by the Muslim population.
In 1996, Giuseppe Cremonini took over Olitalia and together with his sons Angelo, Camillo and Elisabetta began the process of internationalization of the company: where have you arrived today and where will you arrive tomorrow?
Today we are present in over 120 countries in the world, where about 75% of foreign turnover is in the retail channel and the remaining 25% in food service.
We started the internationalization process in 1996, pursuing a strategy to strengthen our presence in both food service and retail in foreign markets such as North America and continental Europe, able to recognize the value of Olitalia brands over time—through long-term partnerships with qualified local restaurateurs and importers, also contributing to their training.
The other lever of this path consists in continuing to cover emerging markets with high growth potential, such as Asia and South America, thanks to the company’s deep knowledge of the specific characteristics of the various geographical areas of the world.
The common factor is to expand by bringing innovative extra virgin olive oil products, such as the new line of extra virgin olive oils I Dedicati, an innovative project in the oil market designed for professionals in the food-service industry and born from the collaboration between the company and some of the main associations of professionals in catering (JRE – Jeunes Restaurateurs d’Europe and with the Association Verace Pizza Napoletana). Olitalia has decided to develop this line of extra virgin olive oil also for the consumer market to transfer the quality of products used in professional kitchens to domestic preparations. Oil is therefore no longer a simple condiment, but becomes a fundamental ingredient.
I Dedicati are versatile extra virgin olive oils that cover a growing trend related to combinations and were created to enhance the functional aspect of the oil within the recipes of chefs and consumers, both raw and in cooking. I Dedicati are characterized by unique and exclusive organoleptic profiles that make these references ideal for the creation of specific combinations for dishes based on pasta, meat, fish, vegetables and pizza.
The birth of Acetaia Giuseppe Cremonini in 2007 was the last great entrepreneurial legacy of the family founder: can advanced technologies and ancient traditions coexist and contribute to the production of truly excellent products?
Certainly, in fact, it is precisely in the combination of cutting-edge technology and tradition that one of our greatest strengths lies.
Acetaia Giuseppe Cremonini is a new-generation company located on a 40,000 square meter farm, mostly planted with Lambrusco Grasparossa IGT and Trebbiano DOC vineyards, typical local grapes used for the renowned Traditional Balsamic Vinegar of Modena DOP and Balsamic Vinegar IGP.
The plant, designed and built using advanced process technologies to combine tradition, quality and efficiency, can be defined as a model of reference for the entire sector. Next to the modern plant stands the Traditional Family Vinegar Works, dedicated to the production of Traditional PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) Balsamic Vinegar of Modena.
Our products are the result of recipes that come from the past, chosen and used by the best chefs and restaurants in the province of Modena (who know about Balsamic Vinegar) and that help us to improve our vinegars every day.
Thanks to this collaboration between the elite of the catering world and our food technologists, our products are born and evolve, the result of an authentic passion that infects all the people who work with us.
What green footprint does Olitalia want to give to all its production activities?
Environmental protection and attention to sustainability are part of Olitalia’s DNA. Daily undertakings reflect this, but above all the company’s most important strategies are built on this. We are green in many areas, from the purchase of 100% energy from renewable sources to the reduction of water consumption, up to our most recent project: Plastic No More, launched in 2018 with the aim of reducing the consumption of plastics by 30% by 2020, thanks to the reduction of the quantities used (lightening containers and packaging materials), to recycling and through the use of sustainable and fully compostable alternatives to plastics. These are important numbers because a 30% reduction in plastics corresponds to a reduction of about 677 tons per year.* This project has the additional objective of structuring a chain of recovery and recycling of plastic bottles to increase the recycled and reused PET, and at the same time to launch a research project aimed at finding new biodegradable and/or compostable materials that can replace bottles, caps and other packaging.
Plastic No More is the result of the work of numerous partners, with the Zoological Station “Anton Dohrn” in Naples, as leader in the role of Professor Silvestro Greco, Scientific Manager, in addition to important players such as Slow Food International, the University of Gastronomic Sciences of Pollenzo, Polieco and Coripet.
Adhering to recently approved European Parliament directives for the abolition of disposable plastics, Olitalia has undertaken an initiative to reduce the use of plastic (degreasing, R-PET, alternative compostable materials) mainly in packaging finished products. Disposable materials such as glasses, plates, cutlery, and straws have been eliminated within the company and there are no more plastic bottles in vending machines, while hot drinks are served in paper cups and wooden pallets.
What do Olitalia products say about Italy and Italian know-how abroad?
Spreading the passion and quality of a product as important as olive oil is one of our priorities. We are committed to training our importers abroad and to providing training to diffuse the Mediterranean diet, its culture of proper nutrition and classic combinations. Explaining where to use our products, characteristics and positive consequences that an excellent product like olive oil can have on health is often important to explain abroad.