Buyers Select:
Armando D. Ruda
Deli Food & Wine (Poland)
Edition 15
The editorial staff of "Food & Wine Italia" curates the Buyers Select editorial series, giving the floor to international buyers who promote Italian culinary culture and its high-quality products abroad. In these interviews, leading figures of the international Taste community will share passions, stories, and reflections to take stock of the food and wine market's future and discover the most exciting companies at the Fortezza and on Pitti Connect.
On the social network profiles of Deli Food & Wine — an import and distribution firm that runs six grocery stores in Warsaw — in addition to being able to view trenette, panforti and mozzarelle di bufala, every day customers can learn something new. Like, for example, how to prepare an invigorating Italian-style aperitif, how to distinguish the different stages of aging of Parmesan cheese or learn about the history of the most popular PDO products.  From the difficulties of the pandemic crisis to the territory’s new business opportunities, Armando D. Ruda, Deli’s Purchasing Manager, talks about the taste of the Polish people for Italian gastronomy and the importance of selecting and communicating virtuous entrepreneurial stories.

Which were the most interesting exhibitors for you at Taste? Did you make any unusual discoveries and/or did you find what you were looking for?
When did your business start?  How would you describe its activities today?    
The company was established nearly a decade ago and, until the Covid-19 emergency, it was exclusively involved in the distribution of wines for the Horeca sector.  In March 2020, realizing the significance of the impending crisis, we decided to open a chain of stores dedicated to top quality food and wine, where Italian products would occupy a privileged position, although there are also many references to Europe and the rest of the world.
Who is your typical client?  Is the business mainly aimed at B2B or B2C? 
We work on both channels, but with similar types of customers.  People who, like us, are passionate about quality and are looking for preeminent artisan proposals that stand out from mass-produced products.  We guide their discovery of international specialties, arousing their curiosity with stories about the artisans and explaining the reasons for the choices we make.  For this reason, the direct contact that we cultivate at meetings and tasting sessions is very important.
How has the vision of Italian cuisine and its products changed abroad?  How do they differ from local products
Polish customers have always loved Italian cuisine.  Unfortunately, for a long time the market has been limited to the distribution of mass-produced products with little attention paid to their origin, originality and quality.  In a context dominated by standardization, we try to give excellences a chance to shine and allow our customers to make mindful choices.
Which Italian product do you consider is still little known in your country and deserves to be introduced there?
We are committed to combating the stereotypes connected to Italian gastronomy by introducing regional specialties that are incredibly rich and varied.  More than the products, it is the producers that deserve to be promoted who, with their work and history, contribute to the development and valorization of a territory. 
Have you recently detected a particular interest in the topic of sustainability, in environmental/ethical as well as economic terms?
This is not an added value but an obligation.  Any evaluation of a producer’s work should include these elements.
The return to Taste: which were the elements of the event that you appreciated the most?  How important is in-person participation at events of this kind?
It is essential not to lose the human side of relationships.  Two years of semi-isolation led us to depersonalize contacts, but you need to know each other in order to carry out joint projects and work well together.