PRIMAVERA BIO: ELISA PEDRAZZOLI TALKS ABOUT THE BEGINNINGS OF THEIR ORGANIC DELI MEATS LINE
The history of the Pedrazzoli organic range started almost by chance in 1995, when a somewhat amateurish breeder with about a hundred pigs raised organically contacted our company to ask us if we were interested in embarking on what was at the time a completely new and experimental journey: the production of organic deli meats.
At that time I was in the final stages of writing my thesis and the course of studies I had chosen was very far from my family’s business. Still, I felt it was right that I should help out with the firm and I was in the office when this unusual but definitely charismatic character walked in. I understood immediately that his idea could be an interesting one because it took the production and sale of the product to a completely different level: it was no longer a matter of selling a product that might or might not be liked, but of “selling” a really unique project that matched perfectly what I envisaged could become our company philosophy: the reduction of preservatives, in actual fact their total elimination, since at the time no preservatives were allowed by the legislation regulating the organic production of vegetables which we were obliged to refer to, essentially because it was the only available one. Organic livestock farming was quite different from the traditional one, with specifications that protected animal welfare – something decidedly unusual in those days – and this was an aspect that fascinated me because here I found a project that could reflect fully my soul’s connection with my family’s pork butchery tradition and at the same time the humanistic education that made me to reject the intensive industrial breeding systems that had nothing to do with me.
In 1996 we began producing the first samples of organic deli meats from pigs raised organically. Naturally only a limited number of animals were involved and the greatest problems I faced were, on the one hand, the certification of a product when there was no specific legislation regulating the organic production of meat and, on the other, finding customers, since the organic world we were entering at that time was mainly a vegetarian one. As the clients I approached did not consume meat, this new path was a difficult one. I remember the first organic sector trade show that we participated in, Sana 1996. We were a huge success, as everyone was intrigued by this novelty in the sector: organic cured meat! Visitors would ask me if our deli meats were really made with meat, or “corpses”, as some preferred to call them. At Sana, however, I found the first important and interesting buyer, a German man who is still our client, who sat down at our table and, after tasting three slices of salami (back then we only made garlic, Milano and sweet salami), said: “I want two hundred of each.” For me, who up to that moment had only seen people running away from us, this was a very important signal because I began to realize that, at least abroad, we had the opportunity to occupy a market niche and break down the initial differences. Fortunately a significant opportunity soon presented itself in our country as well, with our first Italian client, NaturaSì, which has been and still is a very important client company of ours. In the 1990s it was opening its first stores and, in spite of its client base being clearly biased towards vegetarianism, it was open to innovating its range and adding meat-based products, thus proving not only to be a pioneer in the organic sector but also a far-sighted company because, unlike many distributors who wanted nothing to do with the world of meat, it understood from the start that there could also be a market for deli meats in the organic world.
This is how my history, and that of Salumificio Pedrazzoli, started in the organic sector, this area that is so special and different from what was traditional deli meat production, and that perhaps for this very reason fascinated me from the start and to this day never ceases to amaze me, a world in constant evolution that sees food not just as a product but also as an expression of the passion of the people who make it, of the idea of how it’s produced, and of the places from which it comes.