“This partnership expands exponentially the Italian imports we have on our shelves for our customers,” says Donny Rouse, CEO. “We’ve made Italian products a priority because our customers demand it. The cultural heritage of Italy is prevalent in the Gulf South, with more than a quarter of the population tracing its lineage back to the old country. Even our own family traces its roots to Italy and the large Italian island of Sardinia in the Mediterranean Sea.”
Over the last year, Donny Rouse and members of the Rouses Markets buying team have traveled to Sicily, Milan, Verona, Bologna and other Italian regions to source the products that are being introduced in the stores. In addition, the Rouses team met the individual makers and attended most major food shows including Vinitaly, an annual wine and spirits exhibition, to further research and source Italian-made products.
“When you want the best of the best from Italy, you go to the source,” added Rouse. “We made trips and visited purveyors at home where they have been making these fantastic Italian products for hundreds, if not thousands, of years.”
Rouses Markets recently unveiled its own line of Italian-made products, including Sicilian extra virgin olive oil, castelvetrano olives and balsamic vinegar from Modena.
“Private label is our way of bringing you better prices on the foods you’ve eaten your whole life,” added Rouse. “And we are excited to introduce delicious new Italian foods that our customers may not have thought of serving every day.”
The company is celebrating the new products throughout March with price deals, a selection of Italian recipes on its website and live cooking demos in stores.
“It is the first time that The Extraordinary Italian Taste promotion organized under the supervision of the Ministry of Economic Development touches Louisiana,” says Carlo Angelo Bocchi, Italian Trade Commissioner in Houston. “This is made possible not only by the vibrancy of the territory, which has a lot of European and Italian influences, but especially to the capability and organization of Rouses Markets. Their stores are the perfect place to buy authentic Italian food and wine.”
Rouses Markets is a 55-store, independent, family-owned chain operating in three Gulf Coast states: Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. The company has a 58-year history in groceries, beginning with the family’s first store in Houma, Louisiana, in 1960. Donny Rouse, CEO, is the third generation to lead the company. Rouses Markets employs more than 6,500 team members.
The ITA is the government agency entrusted with promoting trade, business opportunities, collaborations and inward investments between Italian and foreign companies, as well as research centers and universities.