Gourmet Italian Food has made its first play in the dehydrated ready-meal segment with the acquisition of manufacturer Firma Italia.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, will see Gourmet Italian Food take 100% of the business.

It said it was looking to “internationalise” and focus on export opportunities with its strengthened portfolio. Approximately 60% of Gourmet Italian Food’s sales are from export, and the US is it’s biggest market.

The Italian-food group, backed by private-equity firm Alcedo, purchased the company from the Birolo family, who will remain involved as investors.

Co-founders Silvano and Mario Birolo will also keep their positions co-CEOs.

The acquisition will take the group’s consolidated turnover to EUR130m ($141.8m), Alcedo said – Firma turns over around EUR30m a year.

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By GlobalData

Filippo Nalon, a partner at Alcedo, said: “The acquisition of Firma completes the offer of Gourmet Italian Food thanks to the entry into the segment of quality dehydrated ready meals and accelerates the internationalisation process, where we are confident that the group has important development opportunities for the next few years.”

Silvano and Mario Birolo, co-CEOs of Firma, said they hoped to develop “important commercial synergies in particular in foreign markets where Firma has solid and long-standing relationships with the main brands of large-scale distribution”.

Firma Italia produces dehydrated ready meals including lasagne, risotto, sauces and soups. It mainly produces private-label products for “large-scale” retail chains.

Silvano and Mario Birolo founded the business in 1995 when dehydrated ready meals were “non-existent in the Italian market”.

Gourmet Italian Food was set up through a venture between Alcedo and another Italian private-equity firm, FVS, bringing together Eurochef Italia and foodservice supplier La Gastronomica. 

In 2021 it acquired Veneto-based ready-meals manufacturer Cucina Nostrana. The same year it also took a majority interest in snacks and bakery business Fabian.

Its other brands include bakery manufacturer Deppieri.

“Under Alcedo’s leadership, all the companies in the Gourmet Italian Food group have recorded significant growth, which has also been confirmed from the excellent performance of the current year,” a statement on the Firma Italia acquisition said.