Paolo Volpati-Kedra Interview
For the past 15 years Paolo Volpati-Kedra and his company Sauces’n Love have been providing the public with his own brand of 100% fresh and natural homemade sauces.
How does he do it?
That’s what we wanted to find out.
Q - So, I walked into Wegmans the other day and right by the front door were Wegmans own pasta sauces. There are offering a family pack of three bottles of sauce for $3.99. How do you compete with something like that?
A - We don’t. That’s a segment of the market we can’t touch. Our refrigerated line of Sauces ‘n Love
is the most expensive in the U.S. And caters to a consumer looking to experience purity and sophistication in flavor, a clean in short list of real ingredients, a certified gluten-free product, an award-winning line, 17 Sofi awards, the most decorated sauce company in the industry recyclable, reusable, microwavable, dishwasher safe, BPA free elegant container. You put all those elements together and that to our need to show a profit as a corporation and you understand why we don’t compete with a $1. 33 sauce jar. With the recent introduction of our fresh pasta line under the Sauces ’n Love line, we are now in a very unique position where we can offer a certified gluten-free meal solution, fresh pasta plus fresh sauce under one brand and one quality standard. Our pasta is priced at whole foods at $4.99 a pack and comes in $2-$4 cheaper than any competitor for a much higher quality. With this combination we are changing the gluten-free experience. Our shelf stable sauce line Scarpetta offers the same benefits, but it’s priced to compete in the jungle of grocery pasta sauces. We still differentiate ourselves with our elegant and unique plastic packaging and clean, modern, racy Italian image but, are priced at $6.99 which is in line with other brands of the same level. Still, we will never be able to compete with $1.33 sauces. Finally, our cheese dip line, Dips ’n Love has seen good success in retailers such as Whole Foods, Hannaford and Costco. As with anything we do, the image captures the consumer’s attention. The product is fairly priced at $5.99 a jar, one dollar cheaper than the competition and the quality seals the deal.
Q - You mentioned Whole Foods Market and Hannaford carry your sauces. What other stores in the Northeast carry your sauces?
A - The Fresh Market, Roche Brothers, Crosby’s, Dave’s market and a large number of independent stores. Our products are sold nationwide as well as Canada, Bermuda, Dubai and Hong Kong. The Scarpetta line is also available on Amazon.com
Q - Do you have a background in food products or restaurant work, management or food preparation?
A - No. What I have a strong passion for is cooking, solid philosophy for quality and ingredients and the entrepreneurial spirit to embark in this crazy adventure. I came to the U.S. in 1993 and attended Boston College and Boston University where I studied business management. Everything I know today comes from experience, studying and dedication.
Q - I take it you were a college student in 1999?
A - I graduated in 1996. I printed weekly menu where I had one different sauce for each day of the week. I would distribute the menu door-to-door in my neighborhood offering a sauce delivery service and would walk around making deliveries with my hand written labels and the five-day shelf life. You have to start somewhere!
Q - When you started off were you making the sauce in a commercial kitchen or your own kitchen? I ask only because I wonder how you got around food inspections, if the sauce was made in your own kitchen.
A - I was illegally cooking in my apartment! I operated under the radar for a year and then came out officially once we were a legitimate. The home to home delivery, gave me an opportunity to test the idea and validate it without investing much into it.
Q - Did it cost a lot of money to launch Sauces ‘n Love?
A - The company was launched with an initial investment of $30,000 from friends and family. That allowed us to rent a commercial space, by used equipment, obtain all the licenses and get going with our dream! Subsequent to that we went through a couple of investment rounds for larger amounts.
Q - How many people are involved with the preparation of your sauce?
A - We currently have 32 employees and growing! It amazes me to think that I once alone making everything.
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