Coppa’s Fresh Market has launched Nonna Francesca, a private label line that pays tribute to the homemade recipes of the family-run grocery’s matriarch.
“It means a lot to us as a family,” says John Louie Coppa, president of Coppa’s Fresh Market, of the new line named after his late grandmother. “She was just such an important part of us and a real big piece of our history and it’s where we wanted to take the business.”
The line has been in the works for quite a while but “we wanted to make sure we got it right.”
It includes about 12 fresh pastas, about 12 frozen entrees, three pasta sauces, and pizza, has been available since mid-Oct. but was officially launched Nov. 11 in time for the holiday season. They’re being sold at the grocer’s three Toronto-area locations in North York, Vaughan and Scarborough.
He says the products “are very close” to what his grandmother made. “When we decided to use her name on them, we made sure that the ingredients and the flavour and everything was top-notch and nothing was skimped upon. And it would be something she would be proud to have her name on.”
Products, which are being made by a variety of suppliers, include cabbage rolls, four cheese lasagna, four cheese manicotti, meat and ricotta cannelloni, roasted vegetable and cheese lasagna, roasted garlic pasta sauce and tomato and basil pasta sauce.
The products are priced fairly to generate interest from all types of consumers, he says. “I wouldn’t say we’ve gone out of our way to price it higher. We want everybody to enjoy it.”
So far, the line has been given a soft launch and is being promoted in-store, on Coppa’s website and in flyers. However, radio and print ads are possible closer to Christmas. “I think it’s a good time to promote family values and explain to customers and people in the industry what we’re about.”
Customer response has been excellent to date, Coppa says. “They love the name, they love the idea, they love the concept of family gatherings and the grandmother and the fact it was based on her recipes.” He adds Nonna Francesca products “are doing really well in our cafes as a grab-and-go item. It’s done wonders for that department.”
They’re also being eaten at home with his kids loving the lasagna, in particular. “They think it’s pretty cool” to eat food based on the recipes of the great-grandmother they never met.
Future Nonna Francesca’s offerings are likely to include ready-made pastas, bakery items, olive oil and balsamic vinegar and Coppa notes he “never says never” about selling the line in other stores.