Buyers Select:
Beatrice Ughi – Gustiamo (Usa)
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.
Beatrice Ughi – Gustiamo (Usa)
Beatrice Ughi of Gustiamo has been working in the United States for over twenty years with the aim of raising the level of imported Italian food and, above all, spreading the culture of good cuisine. It is not just the quality of the products that directs all her choices, but also the sustainability, craftsmanship, transparency and ethics of the production.

We asked her some questions in order to get to know Gustiamo better, to find out how she is getting ready for Taste and what binds her to the Florentine event.
Which are the 5 most interesting exhibitors for you that are attending Taste? Why?  Could you give us a brief comment about each one?
The 5 most interesting producers for us are already part of the Gustiamo family and we have the great honor of representing them in the USA: Bio Alberti - Pastificio Faella - Maida - Marco ColzaniSapori Vesuviani
When did your business start?  How would you describe its activities today?
Gustiamo was born in 1999 in the Bronx as an e-commerce company; you could say that we were the precursors of online sales. We select Italian gastronomic excellences, real food from honest producers and import them to the USA. Today our values are the same as 21 years ago and our mission is still totally aligned with the principles that inspired the establishment of Gustiamo.
Who is your typical client?  Is the business mainly aimed at B2B or B2C?
Gustiamo’s business is equally divided between online and offline sales that, for us, represent the B2C market and the B2B market respectively. We sell all over the US and our typical clients are very similar on the retail side as well as with regard to those working in Ho.Re.Ca: they are American nationals who are curious and aware, who know about and have a lot of respect for Italian culture and who fell in love with our cuisine during their trips to Italy.
How has the vision of Italian cuisine and its products changed abroad? How do they differ from local products?
Italian cuisine is becoming increasingly better known and appreciated by Americans. At the same time, counterfeits and adulterations are on the rise. The infamous "Italian sounding" products have saturated the market with imitations and falsified products that take advantage of the image of good, genuine Italian food.
Which Italian product do you consider is still little known in your country and deserves to be introduced there?
It would be great to introduce more artisan cold pork meats that represent a great patrimony of Italian tradition. The US market, for now, imposes strict bureaucratic limitations that leave little space for small producers.
Have you recently detected a particular interest in the topic of sustainability, in environmental/ethical as well as economic terms?
Undoubtedly there is a lot of interest in the story of the ingredients and the production process behind the product, with particular attention to the environmental impact of our diet and the wellbeing of the workers. In this sphere it is also necessary to distrust promotion which lacks the backing of solid truth: the logos, the claims and the certification need to be supported by facts.
Looking to the future of the food and wine market: in your opinion what will be the trends?
Without doubt online sales will continue to undergo great growth and it will be important to keep up with this aspect. The challenge for the next few years will be to reach our clients as quickly as possible, to increasingly reduce the distance between the person ordering and the vendor, to bring the moment of purchase closer to that of delivery.
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?
The main quality that distinguishes Taste is the attention to detail. What makes the difference for us is the careful selection of the exhibitors which is obtained through the application of rigid criteria without resorting to compromises. Meeting in person is not only important, it is essential. You can’t substitute direct human contact when you are dealing with the stories and the passion of the craftsmen who dedicate their lives to their products.
“Posti del cuore-Places of the heart” at Taste: what is your favorite restaurant (or bar, store, wine shop/wine bar, etc.) in Florence?
'Ino di Alessandro Frassica. A friend with whom we share a lot in terms of the choice of the companies we work with as well as the passion for their stories. Since time immemorial it has represented a casket of exceptional ingredients combined with great taste in sandwiches.