Local product marketing best practices study tour in Northern Italy
The next step of the Shop of Region project was the province of Friuli-Venezia Giulia in Northern Italy, where we spent almost four full days (19-22 April 2022) learning about a variety of local product marketing best practices.
The aim of the study tour was to learn about the production of local products, their different marketing systems and the practices of developing local food production into tourism products. In addition, we learned about the gastronomic characteristics of the Friuli-Venezia Giulia region, such as the hams, cheeses and dishes typical of the region. During the professional programmes, we were usually offered tastings of special local dishes, either home-made or from the shops where they were sold.
On the first day we visited the ham manufacturer BAGATTO in San Daniele, a family-run ham factory that has been in business for generations, and the local produce shop.
We then visited the small gourmet shop Garlatti Boutique Alimentare in the historic centre of San Daniele, which favours local suppliers but also sells typical products from other regions, taking into account the needs of its customers.
We then visited the Campagna Amica farmers' market in Udine, one of the local markets of the association, which is spread throughout the country and whose philosophy is to provide a sales platform for the smallest local producers, while ensuring a good quality local products for the population by providing a suitable environment.
The second day started in the hall of Palmanova town hall, where the mayor of the town welcomed the participants. Afterwards, representatives of the city's tourist office presented the special fortification system and the tasks necessary for its continuous tourist promotion, presentation of the built heritage and its maintenance. We then visited the ZOFF FORMAGGI family farm, cowshed and cheese factory in Cormons, where we learned about the farm's operations. The farm is a good example of agro-tourism, offering accommodation and a tasting menu.
We continued our study tour in Aquileia, where the COCAMBO chocolate factory, confectionery and show kitchen explained how the business works. As well as making chocolate and coffee specialities, the company places great emphasis on sustainability and reducing its ecological footprint, which permeates the entire production and logistics process.
We started the third day in Trieste, where we first visited the city market and then the local shop of EATALY, a chain of quality Italian food stores already operating in several cities in the country. Here we were given a guided tour of the store network and its philosophy.
Our professional programme ended with a visit to two small local produce shops. The first one, Alimentari Tomadin, is located in Cormons and has been selling special small-scale products from the region for more than 30 years. It offers a very wide range of cheeses, hams, spices, sweets, various processed vegetables and alcoholic products.
The final shop of our professional trip is in Grado, a seaside resort town close to the beach. The Gusto e Tradizione shop is mainly targeted at tourists, but is open all year round. The philosophy of the shop is to sell real Italian specialities, small-scale or even artisanal food and alcoholic beverages that cannot be found elsewhere, for example in supermarkets.
The small entrepreneurs, producers, tourism and gastronomy operators who came with us took home a number of best practices, which we hope they will be able to use in the future.