Starting in the 1980s, through a careful policy of acquisition of small but significant family firms, Citterio chose to produce its deli meats in their different Italian places of origin, in order to strengthen the link between traditional recipes and their local areas, where the centuries-old tradition that guarantees goodness and quality meets the industrial culture that makes it possible to bring these flavours intact to dinner tables around the world. Thus over time, to the traditional Salami Milano and the fragrant Citterino were added Parma Ham, San Daniele Ham,Vignola Ham, Bresaola della Valtellina, Speck Alto Adige, Pandino Wurstel and many other specialties. Today, all the products are still being made in their area of origin, in innovative plants and using the recipes of the best Italian regional tradition. In spite of its long history, after 145 years Citterio is still a family company managed personally by Giuseppe Citterio’s descendants, and its inspiration is the same as it always was: product quality, innovation and traditional flavour. Citterio becomes ambassador of the Italian charcuterie products at Expo 2015 to offer its visitors the opportunity to taste the products of Italian tradition.
1870 Giuseppe Citterio was a young deli meat butcher who, after a training period in Milan, opened his own deli meat shop in Rho. He invented a recipe for processing and preserving pork meat: Salami Milano, a product designed to bring those flavours far away, to the Italians who were migrating to seek their fortune overseas. With the advent of the industrial revolution, Giuseppe Citterio understood the opportunity to turn a production cycle that until then had followed seasonal rhythms into a continuous one. His entrepreneurial vision became reality within a few years: Giuseppe Citterio bought land on the outskirts of Rho and had a model plant built on it. In 1878 the Giuseppe Citterio Salumificio was born. With the arrival of the first electric-powered refrigeration machines, the industrial production of Salami Milano started, the beginnings of a history of success spanning five generations of family entrepreneurship. Today the Citterio name is known worldwide as a byword for seriousness, passion and quality.
The Giuseppe Citterio Salumificio was founded in 1878 and the industrial production of Salami Milano started. In 1881 Giuseppe Citterio participated in the National Exposition of Milan, the first major exhibition of Italian industrial production, with more than 7000 exhibitors and one million visitors and, thanks to the quality of its product, received its first official award, a Gold Medal. Five more Medals followed between 1891 and 1894.
The expansion of Citterio continued until the Second World War in the 1940s, when production ceased completely following the military occupation of the Rho plant. After the war, Citterio had to start all over again and in a short time it regained its leading role in the deli meat sector. Production was still entirely dedicated to exports, but in the 1950s, with the reconstruction that paved the way for the economic boom of the next decade, a domestic demand began to take shape and the Italian market entered Citterio’s sphere of interest. The company distinguished itself for its attention to absolute quality and for the skills that had been handed down from generation to generation, creating over time an extraordinary and ever-evolving project.In 1955 the chemical and bacteriological analysis Lab was opened.
Citterio was the first food company in the world to have its own laboratory that studied, analysed and controlled the whole production. It also carried out checks and controls of the work environment to guarantee safety and quality in all processing stages. Citterio was by now a byword for innovation and quality in 1958, and began production of vacuum-packed sliced deli meats. The mastery of technology was confirmed and expressed itself in a leadership that continues unchanged to this day.Starting in the 1960s, the range of Citterio products began to expand and add specialties through research into the local products that characterize the different Italian regions.
Meanwhile, there was a growing commitment to offering products with increasingly strictly quality controls, while the new packaging met the latest needs dictated by consumers and social changes.In 1974 Citterio inaugurated in the United States its plant in Freeland, Pennsylvania, in order to meet efficiently the growing demand of the US market. The objective is that of increasing awareness about traditional Italian products even under the regulations that limit their importation from Italy. Since then, US production has continued to grow and Citterio’s success has spread from coast to coast, strengthening the image of Italian food tradition. The pre-sliced market is gradually growing and Citterio is committed to offering its customers a convenient sliced product with all the characteristics of the freshly-sliced one. For this reason, the protective atmosphere packaging that guarantees slices as soft and fragrant as freshly-cut ones was introduced in 1986. Passion for work, respect for traditions, attention to new market demands are the main elements that have strengthened the identity of the Citterio Group, which has obtain all the quality certifications recognized worldwide.
The meaning of the word “quality”, in reference to food, has changed over time: today quality is what we taste in terms of health and nutritional value, as well as flavour, authenticity and origin.
Citterio’s centuries-old experience in “Italian Deli Meats” is the best guarantee of the goodness and quality of its products. The knowledge handed down through the centuries about the preparation of ancient recipes combines with constant attention to new consumer needs and to technologies for achieving the highest levels of control and flavour of the products that reach dinner tables all around the world. Professionalism and seriousness are characteristics shared by all the Citterio staff; the quality of their deli meats requires a passion for processing the product that can only be inherited within a family or learnt in a plant following expert advice.
A culture of quality and a gift for innovation have always defined the Citterio name. From the first refrigeration machines at the beginning of the century to the ultra-modern plant of Santo Stefano Ticino, the history of Citterio has been the result of a constant commitment to combine tradition and technologies in a perfect balance, the guarantee of quality and unchanged flavour.
From the first vacuum-packed packaging to the trays, the commitment to deliver a sliced product as fresh as the newly-sliced one is evidenced by the investments that Citterio has always dedicated to finding the most innovative packaging solutions and conservation of the products.
Today the internal chemical and microbiological lab, opened in the 1950s, way ahead of its time, performs over 200,000 tests a year and guarantees the control and absolute safety of the products.
Finally, the concept of innovation is rounded off by Citterio’s ability to address the issues of energy savings, as demonstrated by renewable energy sources powering the Santo Stefano and Felino plants, by the energy and heat recovery carried out daily in the plants and by the strong reduction, in recent years, of the quantity of plastic used in trays and in packaging materials.
The search for quality begins in trusted pig-farms, where the Citterio staff makes its first important selection. Citterio is a member of Prosus, the largest cooperative of Italian pig farmers, and this enables it to choose the raw materials, pigs raised in the regions of Northern Italy where the production plants are located. Once at the plants, the raw materials are inspected again. Only those that pass all the checks reach the processing areas.
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