When George and Madeline DeLallo came from Italy to the U.S. in 1950, they settled in Jeannette, Pennsylvania, just outside of Pittsburgh. When they couldn’t find the Italian food they were used to eating, they started importing it themselves.
After selling door to door, they bought a little gas station in Jeannette and converted it into a store. More than 60 years later, DeLallo remains a family-owned and -operated business that focuses on the import, production and distribution of Italian and Mediterranean specialty foods.
When the DeLallo’s son wanted to take things bigger, it started with the company’s olives and antipasti bar, according to Jeff Beavers, a company spokesman.
He said after selling to supermarkets around the Pittsburgh area, sales grew. “We have olives and antipasti as our mainstay, but then we also have a full line of grocery – pasta, pasta sauces, pesto, potato gnocchi. And we just keep growing in a lot of different ways,” Beavers said.
DeLallo is the country’s largest importer of olives and antipasti, importing from all over the world, according to Beavers.
The gourmet company has three divisions: olives and antipasti, Italian grocery and cookies. A new, popular item is its shelf-stable grab-and-go charcuterie tray, Beavers said. It comes with a single-use board made from cardboard, which is recyclable.
DeLallo is always looking to innovate, he said, and is a leader in the industry. Julianna Pena, marketing director, also is in charge of developing new recipes.
“We’re a big company but we act small,” Beavers said. “Everyone has a lot of hats. She’s [Pena] developing recipes for the olives and antipasti, tasting new items, figuring out which direction we should go.”
He noted another new item, chickpea gnocchi, which has joined the company’s gnocchi line. DeLallo is known for its potato gnocchi and also is “growing that line.”
About 10 years ago, the company bought a bakery when it wanted to offer a cookie bar. The retailers and customers wanted more packaged offerings, so DeLallo went more in that direction, Beavers said.
It offers a line of pizzelles, which are Italian cookies, along with a line of biscotti. Flavors include lemon and blueberry and pumpkin spice, among others.
“One thing our company relies on is eye appeal,” he said. “If you look at our olives, they’re very beautiful, how we present them. And the same with the cookies. We try to show you the product. We’re not hiding anything. We use nice, clear packaging with a minimal label, but the label is also very nice, well designed by our graphic designers.”
For more information, visit delallo.com.