Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2020

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1194330

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Page 45 of 115

G iovanni Volpi, an Italian immigrant intimate with the ancient craft of dry- curing meat, opened Volpi Foods in St. Louis, Mo., in 1902. Salami was his shop's first product, soon joined by prosciutto, guanciale, pancetta, and coppa, which is air-dried pork seasoned with pepper, nutmeg, and allspice. Italians are known for passing their businesses down through the male line, but Lorenza Pasetti, Volpi's great niece, became president in 2002 after her father, Armando Pasetti, stepped down. She is the third of four daughters and felt it was her calling. "It's part of my DNA," she says. "Some things you don't do for money; it's just the right thing to do." Taking over the company 100 years after its founding, she widely expanded its offerings and its reach in the national marketplace. Shortcuts? Absolutely not. One of her feet remains firmly planted in Italian tradition, the other on the accelerator for expansion while maintaining quality. Pasetti grew up in the business, hand- wrapping salami at the age of 14 and waiting on customers in the shop. After high school she left to study psychology and history at the University of Michigan then came back to St. Louis to get an MBA at Washington University. She officially joined the company in the mid-1980s, right after grad school, working as an assistant to the bookkeeper, in sales, operations, packaging, quality control, and shipping. At that time, there were 12 employees and 8 SKUs; today there are 210 employees and 150 SKUs, most of them launched during her reign. There is salami infused with wine, for instance, mortadella studded with pistachios, and roltini snacks of mozzarella and pepperoni. Pasetti made a push toward sourcing free-roaming, heritage breeds from local, sustainable farms. Environmentally conscious, she promotes using paper-based packaging rather than plastic. And to be more user-friendly, she spurred the development of recipe collections, pairing suggestions, cheese accompaniments, and specialty subscription boxes. "Now dry-cured meats and charcuterie are really in vogue," Pasetti says. "After 117 years, we're an overnight success." The original shop is still in operation in the old Italian neighborhood. Pasetti's father, 95, still comes in to work some days. Volpi Foods shows every sign of lasting into the next century: Pasetti's three millennial-aged children—two women and one man—all work in the business. "They keep me up to date on what's modern and what's not," she says, "so I give them a lot of credit too." 1902 Giovanni Volpi establishes the Volpi Company by opening a small storefront in The Hill in St. Louis 1938 Armando Pasetti (Lorenza's father) arrives as a boy and lives with his aunt and uncle to learn the trade 1957 Volpi dies after growing the company; Armando takes over and continues to improve the business 1985 Lorenza Pasetti enters the business to help with continued growth 1993 Sheets of mozzarella and slices of prosciutto rolled in pinwheels enter the market 1997 The company adds a second, 64,000-square-foot production facility, "Due," concentrating on prosciutto 2002 Pasetti is named president and introduces sliced products 2004 A third, 50,000-square- foot production facility, "Tre," opens to keep up with the demand 2006 A wide variety of salami products launch 2010 "Tre" facility doubles in size to 100,000 square feet 2013 Snack items introduced, combining various cheeses with Volpi salumi 2016 Debut of a fourth facility, "Quattro," a state-of- the-art, 125,000-square- foot prosciutto plant 2017 Volpi Culatello Prosciutto wins the sofi Silver for Best Charcuterie business LEADERSHIP LORENZA PASETTI, Volpi Foods WINTER PHOTO VOLPI FOODS

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