Vinalfood was founded on July 1, 1968 by Elie Platini, a then independent representative for several Italian brands just like his father, Giovanni Platini. Giovanni was an Italian immigrant in Belgium who started introducing Italian brands into the country, a business that remains in the Platini family hands today (the current director is Jean Platini, son of the founder). We asked Business Development Manager Michaël Platini all about the bulging Benelux market…
Bellavita: How has the demand for Italian food grown over the years?
Michaël Platini: Vinalfood remains a representative of Italian brands in the Belgian market, with 75% of our range being Italian products. We work on an exclusive basis usually distributing a single product by product category, exclusively for Belgium. The brands we distribute must be leaders in their markets in the country of origin. At this time we focus on dry food. The company is currently located in Wommelgem by Antwerp, and has a storage warehouse of 5000 sqm. At present, the building is being remodelled to make room for a training/tasting centre, with a fully fitted professional kitchen in order to organise tasting and training sessions for our clientele. Vinalfood’s original focus was put on retail. All Belgian supermarket chains are in our customer portfolio. We also have ethnic clientele (Italian and Maghreb shops), electronics stores and Ho.Re.Ca. wholesalers among our clientele. Vinalfood, together with Dell’Oro, likes to present itself as a strong partner for our foreign brands. With the right know-how for the Belgian market. The entire team of the Vinalfood-GROUP is currently made up of nearly 30 employees with a sales team of 12 people.
Bellavita: Why does the Benelux market love Italian food so much?
Michaël Platini: Italian food is one of the most well-known cuisines in Belgium, second to the local kitchen. Italian food has a reputation for being honest, simple, tasty and healthy. Many of our customers visit Italy during the holidays and experience the real Italian kitchen and its famous wines, then come back and want to find them again in Belgium. The most popular wines are the three kings and the Chianti and Bardolino, but we are also specialised in the more special wines and grapes. We feel that people are leaving the French wine market and trying to find new solutions in the new world, but that they are not always satisfied with the quality or vinification. Therefore, they come back to Europe and try Italian, Austrian and Spanish wine. More and more people are now convinced that Italy is a true wine country with a lot of varieties in wines and grapes.
At the moment our bestsellers are Barbera d’alba biodynamic, Roero Arneis, Garganega from Valpolicella, Montepulciano D’Abruzzo Biodynamic, Custoza, Lugana, Lambrusco.
Vinalfood was founded on July 1, 1968 by Elie Platini, a then independent representative for several Italian brands just like his father, Giovanni Platini. Giovanni was an Italian immigrant in Belgium who started introducing Italian brands into the country, a business that remains in the Platini family hands today (the current director is Jean Platini, son…