International restaurant consulting firm VSAG announces the successful in-store market launch of our client’s Cucina 39 high-end handcrafted Italian pasta sauces by Chef Keaton Hopkins with the first release through Whole Foods stores in late summer 2009.
Chef Hopkins selected VSAG for development of the all natural and gluten-free product line as well as market research, packaging, and meeting arrangements with some of the grocery store industry’s top contacts and decision-makers to get it on store shelves. VSAG’s expertise in fresh product sourcing, production and sales allowed Hopkins to focus on perfecting his recipes for the unique line of sauces, which include Garden Vegetable, Porcini Mushroom, Fra Diavolo and classic Marinara varieties. Each sauce is made with San Marzano tomatoes, fresh basil, and imported olive oil.
“I knew I wanted to create this business but just didn’t know how to get there, and VSAG got us up and going,” says Keaton. “They took my ideas and their experience and then navigated the product development process, and were very helpful the entire time. VSAG got us the deal to have our sauces in Whole Foods, and if it weren’t for them, we wouldn’t be in as successful as we are today.”
Currently available in 36 Whole Foods stores throughout Washington DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, Ohio, and Kentucky, the Cucina 39 sauces of have been extremely well received. Plans are in the works to expand the Cucina 39 line through more than 230 grocery stores like Safeway, Giant Food and Richmond, VA regional Ukrop’s super markets in addition to numerous specialty shops and delis in the region.
Cucina 39, loosely translated as “Italian Kitchen” paired with Italy’s international calling code of 39, is the product of Hopkins who was education in the School of Italian Regional Cuisine in Jesi, Italy. Virginia native Chef Keaton Hopkins has studied regional pasta dishes throughout Italy and perfected his craft at several Washington, DC area restaurants, including Da Domenico, Maestro and at the Ritz Carlton hotel and the Palm Restaurant and Steak House, both in McLean, VA and as a personal chef.