Bob Tullio’s Product Perspective: Fiorucci adds another flavorful winner to successful Panino menu

Aug. 18, 2021
A closer look at products, equipment and services that will impact an operator’s business

I was looking for the UPS driver with anticipation. My wife said I reminded her of our family dog, looking out the window, waiting for one of us to get home.

How could I not be excited? The Fiorucci Panino samples were coming. Specialty meats, wrapped around a stick of cheese, like mozzarella or pepper jack.

Once the refrigerated box arrived and we had a chance to enjoy the incredibly fresh and delicious Fiorucci snacks, my wife could understand why I was so excited about the Panino samples.

Specialty Meat since the 1850s

Fiorucci, which has been in business since the 1850s, is an expert in hand-trimmed specialty meats and introduced the Panino line in the early 2000s, creating a whole new specialty meat category – one that is taking off for micro market and vending operators.

There are five Fiorucci Panino varieties. I was lucky enough to be an early sampler of the newest addition to the product line, the Genoa Salami Panino. Verdict: delicious. Keep in mind that I am an Italian from Chicago who knows his way around a deli counter, which makes me perfectly qualified for this job.

Market share domination

Fiorucci is the industry leader when it comes to the Panino, with just over a 50% national market share. Stephen Docherty, marketing analyst of Fiorucci, said the Panino market is growing steadily year after year. The product’s success in convenience stores and grocery has the Fiorucci Panino poised for increased growth in the micro market channel.

Genoa Salami Panino – now on the menu

While the Genoa Salami Panino is new to the 1.5-oz packaging, the ideal size for micro markets, that variety is particularly successful on the East Coast.

“That Genoa Salami Panino accounts for 10% of the Panino sales volume across the board,” Docherty said. “We know that operators will enjoy great success with the Genoa Salami Panino in their micro markets.”

According to Docherty, prosciutto and mozzarella is the No. 1 Panino, followed by, respectively, hard salami and mozzarella, pepperoni and mozzarella, and hard salami and pepper jack cheese.

Love that prosciutto

My Saturday morning golf buddies are always ready to sample snacks that I bring them and they agreed, Prosciutto is the number one Panino, but everyone loved the flavor and was amazed at the freshness of each variety. The reviews were all positive.

A product with “a voice”

Docherty noted that while many competitors have arrived on the scene, the Fiorucci brand “has a voice.” “Retailers know that by bringing in Fiorucci products, they are offering the top of the line in terms of a meat or protein-focused snack. They know exactly what they're getting with us,” he said.

“In fact, we taste test our products consistently against our competitors. Time and time again we are winning because we just simply have a better product at its very base. We have better flavor profiles, better textures. Nobody is going to beat our quality,” Docherty said.

Bob’s take: why Fiorucci makes sense for micro market operators

Packaging punch. The see-through packaging is beautiful and hard to resist. Once you open the 1.5-oz pack, a little tray for two keeps each Panino in perfect order. The message sent by this level of quality packaging: “We are the market leader.”

Additionally, each Panino two pack arrives in an 8-ct. box (two boxes to a case) that acts as an instant product display.

What customers are craving. Docherty is the first to admit that the keto diet is helping to drive the success of the Fiorucci Panino. “We've also found that our products align a little bit more closely with the Mediterranean diet. We have research that shows the Mediterranean diet, which is a little bit more of a lifestyle, a way of eating, is the fastest growing trend worldwide,” he said.

A successful grab-n-go track record. Docherty said that the Fiorucci Panino has seen “huge sales” in Hudson News locations at airports across the country. “Just like people in the workplace, travelers are busy, they are on the go, and sometimes they don't necessarily just want to grab a bag of chips or some fast food, but instead they want to grab something that might be a little bit more aligned with their dietary needs, or they're just looking for something that's a little bit more protein-rich and very simple, easy to grab and enjoy,” said Docherty.

A nice selling price, margin and shelf life. With a typical selling price from $1.95 to $2.50, the Fiorucci Panino deserves a space up front in any micro market. The shelf life is a very workable 90 days from the manufacturing date. The Fiorucci Panino is available from major food distributors across the country.

Flavorful and satisfying. I taste test a lot of products and not all of them appear in Bob Tullio’s Product Perspective. The Fiorucci Panino is a dream product for micro market operators. They are a delicious and substantial snack that your clients will welcome.

Note to Fiorucci: Please send more samples. You have my address!

For learn how to bring the Fiorucci Panino into your micro market, email inquiries to [email protected].


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