Olio Dante’s history begins in Genoa in 1849, when Andrea - founder of the Costa family - begins to market and transport olive oil and fabrics from Sardinia to Liguria. In 1854 Giacomo Costa founds the company "Giacomo Costa son of Andrea", specializing in the purchase of raw olive oil in Mediterranean countries in order to export it overseas with the Costa label.
In 1898 the first shipments are directed to North America, Argentina and Australia, countries in which the constant flow of Italian emigrants generates a demand for domestic food products. The need to quickly transport their products, leads Giacomo Costa first to use second hand cargo ships and then to build them directly, creating what will later become the fleet of Costa Cruises. Among the various Italian products, the most popular is oil, essential food for Italian cooking but not yet widespread in the Americas, where it is replaced by vegetable and animal fats like butter and margarine. When Eugenio, one of the sons of Giacomo Costa, sets on his first voyage to North America with the aim of consolidating a network of sales, he discovers something surprising: the Americans identify the name Costa more with the Portuguese than with Italians, and therefore considers appropriate to change the label as "the reminder to Italy must be easy and immediate". The idea of giving the name Dante to the exported oil, was to offer the Italians a product that would remind them of motherland and - in the intentions of Giacomo Costa - closely linked to Italy, just as the Supreme Poet. Already in 1904, Olio Dante is so well known in America that at the San Louis Exposition it is awarded its first Grand Gold Medal as best product, which will be followed by the second medal in 1915 in San Francisco and the third in 1935 in Brussels. The choice of the name is so appropriate that someone else tries to get immediately hold of its success. The Spanish launch the oil "Beatrice", with an identical mark in which the aquiline profile of the author of The Divine Comedy is replaced by the one of a gentle muse. In advertising the Costa are at the forefront, the ads in the press are refined both in graphics, and in colour creation, using sometimes Italian and Flemish masterpieces. They are among the first, in 1928, to sign contracts with Eiar for radio ads, paid 2 lire per word and transmitted by the Italian Radio. Then, they pay a designer to create the character of Dantina, a little girl in a short dress, a bow in her hair and baby shoes. The first advertisements in the pages of "Le Vie d’Italia", a historical journal of the Italian Touring Club, date back to 1933. Olio Dante makes its debut in 1959 on the Rai Carousel with Peppino De Filippo, in the shoes of the famous "superfine chef" and, later, with the couple Paolo Panelli e Bice Valori on the Ligurian coast. In 1967 it is awarded the Oscar for the new drop catch capsule contained in the "drop stop" cap.
In 1985 the British-Dutch multinational Unilever takes over Olio Dante, together with the historical plant of Inveruno (MI), run by the Van Den Bergh. In 2008 the Spanish group SOS-Cuetara, led by the Salazar Bello family, buys the Italian brand and sells it later, in April 2009, to the Oleifici Mataluni. After 24 years the label of the “Divine Poet”, thanks to a brilliant financial operation run by the Mataluni family, is brought back to Italy. Since May also the production moved to Montesarchio (Benevento), in the modern plant of the Oleifici Mataluni, equipped with a highly specialized laboratory for quality control and with a Research Centre (Criol) for the development of oil materials and innovative packaging, one of the main agro-industrial oil complexes in the world.
The Oleifici Mataluni, founded in 1935 in Montesarchio (Benevento) as a small artisan sized oil crush, are today one of the world’s most important agro industrial oil complexes.
Within their premises they carry out the whole productive process, preserving the ancient oil tradition, and giving birth to the most innovative Italian olive oil supply chain: olive press; refining; glass; PET and can bottling; production of PET bottles, caps, packaging and labels.
In 1980, the chairman Biagio Mataluni decides to take his grand-father’s activity further, focusing on private labels and on the top retailers branded products. In 2006, the Oleifici Mataluni start a considerable strategic plan that will lead to the acquisition of the brands Topazio, OiO and GiCo, in addition to other minor ones, originally owned by the company Chiari & Forti Ltd, shortening the production chain, with mutual advantage of both the consumer and farming sector. They also purchase other 11 olive oil brands from the Carapelli Ltd as Lupi and Minerva, initially owned by the famous Liguria group Minerva Agricola Alimentare. In 2009 Mataluni take over the brand Olio Dante from the Spanish group Sos-Cuetara, taking back to Italy, after 24 years, the historical brand of the Divine Poet, created in Genoa in 1854 by Giacomo Costa and giving an important impulse to the Made in Italy. Finally, in 2011 the Oleifici Mataluni purchase the brand Olita from the Star, with whom they start an important cooperation on the food service channel. Together with Unaprol, the biggest Italian agricultural olive consortium, counting 550,000 agricultural producers, in 2010 the Oleifici Mataluni set up the Evolio Consortium. A big production chain plan, combining the efforts of both olive growers and oil producers for the common aim of valorizing only the best of the Italian productions. The Olio Lupi, by its brand of I.O.O.% Italian Quality, is the production of a certified and completely Italian olive oil supply chain, giving also to small oil producers the chance of being present on the market, with a product that from the olive groves gets directly on the consumer’s table. In 2011 they sign a historical agreement with the Nippon Company, one of the biggest Japanese distribution channels for the exclusive trade in Japan of their brands, adding it to their existing distribution markets (Germany, Denmark, Holland, UK, Poland, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Croatia, Ukraine, Albania, Malta, USA, Australia, Philippines, China and Iran). Today, with a turn-over of 230 million Euros, around 200 employees (average age of 29), with a modern plant covering a 160,000 square metre surface, equipped with a photovoltaic and trigeneration plant, a specialized laboratory for Quality Control and the Criol - Research Centre for the development of oil materials and innovative packaging (accredited in 2010 by the MIUR), they are among the world’s main edible oil producers, producing in private label for top companies in the big Retail Distribution System and are the owners of 23 historical brands such as Olio Dante, Topazio, Olita, OiO, GiCo, Lupi, Minerva and Vero. Among the prizes received the “Environmental Friendly Innovation“ Award (2010-Green Economy Legambiente) and the “Best Product of the Year“ Award (2011-TNS Italy) to the entire range of Dante, which at date include Extra Virgin Olive Oil “100% Italian”, “Terre Antiche” Extra Virgin, Olive Oil, Condisano Oil enriched with vitamin D, and the complete range of “Vitamin Enriched” Seed Oils, with the addition of vitamin E and vitamin B6.
The quality of all the products produced in the Oleifici Mataluni’s agro-industrial complex is certified by the company’s Quality Control laboratory, among the most up-to-date laboratories in the Italian food industry. Biologists, chemists and technologists daily carry out several analysis and controls on all the olives and oil lots in entrance, on processed and end products before their distribution.
All the production phases are carried out under the control and supervision of the Oleifici Mataluni’s laboratory, equipped with the most advanced instrumentation and highly qualified staff - thanks also to the collaboration with other research and analysis centres and institutes - ensuring the assessment of authenticity and healthiness of every single product placed on the market, for full consumer safeguard.
The laboratory is equipped with an up-to-date and functional room for the sensorial analysis of oils, set up according to the international olive Council directives. The fully trained tasting panel, complying to national and international field regulations, carry out the organoleptic evaluation tests of all the in entrance oils as well as on the end products to check their compliance to the expected sensorial profile. One section of the laboratory is dedicated to the control of packaging material compliance. Also the materials used for product packaging are carefully checked in the laboratory to assess their quality, functionality and healthiness before use.
Quality Control is present on all production process phases and each process is carried out in compliance with the procedures set by the Oleifici Mataluni’s quality department and examined by external certified bodies.
The management system for quality, environment and social responsibility of the Oleifici Mataluni is certified by the international standards (ISO 9001, IS0 14001, IFS, BRC, SA8000).
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