Italian producers say MidEast tastes are maturing
Italian producers have spoken out at Gulfood 2012 saying that Middle East diners' tastes are slowly maturing, which is driving demand for better quality produce.
However, they believe that they still have a while to go before residents and chefs will pay higher prices for better quality ingredients.
“The Middle East is not yet ready to understand the quality of extra virgin olive oil,” said Pino Cipolla, director of export and freight for olive oil brands Pietro Coricelli and Cirio.
“Their tastes have not been trained for years and years by generations of their family. They will of course become more educated, but at the moment chefs are selecting lower quality oils from places like Syria.
“Currently we export 100 tonnes of oil a month using Emirates Snack Foods as a distributor,” he continued. “Roughly €3 million (US $4 million) worth a year to the Middle East – to Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. It is increasing year on year, and we think it will keep growing and growing.”
Gianluca De Luca, general manager at Giolitti – a high quality ice cream manufacturer that has been in production since 1900, agrees: “I’m sorry to say that most people in Dubai eat Baskin-Robbins,” he continues. “It’s a 100% artificial taste, and when they taste my ice cream they look shocked. But this will change.
“We have six outlets in Istanbul and are opening our first in Dubai in Boulevard Plaza soon. We have also had lots of interest from Qatar and Bahrain. The ice creams are a luxury product and people can taste the fresh ingredients."