Buyers Select:
Emanuele Lauciani, J&G (UK)
Edition 15
The editorial staff of "Food & Wine Italia" curates the Buyers Select editorial series, giving the floor to international buyers who promote Italian culinary culture and its high-quality products abroad. In these interviews, leading figures of the international Taste community will share passions, stories, and reflections to take stock of the food and wine market's future and discover the most exciting companies at the Fortezza and on Pitti Connect.
Not even Brexit has managed to curb the love of the British for Italian cuisine.  We hear about this boon for Made in Italy from Emanuele Lauciani, sales manager of J&G Italian Food Distributors, an associated company of Carnevale, a group that has been an established entity in the United Kingdom since 1966.  A family business handed down in the spirit of continuity and guaranteed by the quality of the mozzarella, ricotta and other typical dairy products as well as the meat and fresh pasta produced in accordance with the blessings of tradition and inimitable Italian taste.  The system of values is completed by passion and dedication, the symbol of a type of Italian-ness that is still considered to be synonymous with recollection, spirit of adaptability and authenticity around the world.
Which are the 5 most interesting exhibitors for you that are attending Taste? Why?  Could you give us a brief comment about each one?
When did your business start?  How would you describe its activities today?
J&G was established in 2006 and two years later it was sold to the Carnevale group.  This is a family-run enterprise with a dedicated team of producers, importers and distributors on a national level and its own line of high quality fresh and frozen products in addition to innovative foods and beverages for any type of clientele.  Over the years we have acquired other companies and expanded all over the UK: England, Wales and Scotland.
Who is your typical client?  Is the business mainly aimed at B2B or B2C?
Restaurants, pizzerias, delicatessens, cafés, hotels. We try to cover the whole catering sector in the hospitality world as well as in retail sales.
How has the vision of Italian cuisine and its products changed abroad? How do they differ from local products?
Italian cuisine has become very diversified in recent years thanks to the sectorial development of pasta factories, pizzerias and delicatessens.  New segmented outlooks suggested by the increased reputation of Italian products abroad and a demand that is only looking for the best.
Have you recently detected a particular interest in the topic of sustainability, in environmental/ethical as well as economic terms?
The end consumer is definitely interested in buying sustainable products, especially in environmental terms. The post Brexit era, the Covid recovery plans and, lately, the conflict between Ukraine and Russia are aspects that have to be taken into consideration when assessing the true concrete nature of environmental sustainability in the food sector. High transport costs and the lack of alternatives to fuel for long distance travel are factors that affect the import/export aspect. Undoubtedly this is starting to be discussed more frequently and it is inevitable that we will have to find a long-term solution.
Looking to the future of the food and wine market: in your opinion what will be the trends?
Considering the continual increases in management costs for a company or a catering business, whether it is part of a chain or independent, many prefer to purchase finished products, like IV-gamma fruit and vegetables (editor’s note: i.e., fresh products that are already washed, packaged and ready for consumption) as well as vacuum-packed or frozen pizza bases, readymade mixtures, frozen food to be regenerated and fresh pasta which will soon be supplied by local pasta factories.  We are talking about a selection which, on the market, will lower labor costs and increasingly reduce personnel.
Which are Taste’s main elements of distinction and value compared to other events?  How important is the return to in-person participation at events of this kind?
It is a unique event in terms of the reception provided by the staff and the precise organization; the selection of the exhibitors from large and small entities who present products that are of excellent quality and one of a kind; the possibility of entering into direct contact with the directors of the companies themselves. I always find some new ideas and, at the same time, I am astounded by the innovations presented every year.
Posti del cuore-Places of the heart” at Taste: what is your favorite venue in Florence?
Whenever I happen to go to Florence, I like to visit my old friends at the Trattoria Gozzi near the Mercato Centrale, a venue with a characteristic rustic and welcoming appearance - long tables and comfortable wooden benches - which is run by two brothers.