Inalca Food & Beverage, the distribution arm of Italian food company Gruppo Cremonini, is to enter Australia through the acquisition of 60% of local distributors Fresco Gourmet and Itaus.

The Australian companies were founded in 2003 by Antonello Brocca, who will take the role of operative managing director, Inalca Food & Beverage said. Financial details were not disclosed.

Inalca Food & Beverage said it was also looking at ways to expand its business in Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines.

Fresco Gourmet and Itaus handle of fresh and fine foods from all over the world but “especially” from Italy, France, Spain and Greece, the Italian firm added. The distributors are responsible for a range of 1,200 products, supplying retailers including as Woolworths Ltd, Coles and Aldi, as well as local foodservice outlets. French cheese brand Paysan Breton, owned by co-op Laita, and cheese made by Italy’s Fattorie Garofalo are among the products distributed by Fresco Gourmet. Itaus imports a range of cheese, smallgoods and antipasti. 

Inalca Food & Beverage said the market for “fine imported food and beverage products” in Australia had “high growth rates”, especially for foods of European origin. The company will have its Australian base in Sydney and plans to open offices in other cities in the country.

“The new Australian acquisition fits perfectly with the development strategy in the growing and fragmented Asian and Austral distribution market of Italian food & beverage products, day after day more requested, focusing on the middle-high segment of horeca channel and guaranteeing, even to retail chains, regular supplies of Italian specialties,” Inalca Food & Beverage said.

The distributor exports “traditional Made in Italy food products”. It has subsidiaries in markets including the US, China and Thailand. It added it is “evaluating other opportunities to expand the business in Singapore, Vietnam and Philippines”.