Balducci’s Gets a Makeover

Gourmet foods marketer Balducci’s has a new look. The New York-based company last fall redesigned and expanded its catalog and Website to better reflect its Italian roots.

For starters, this is the first time in 10 years Balducci’s has used new photographs of all its merchandise, says Michele Gilbert, vice president of marketing. And whereas in the past the product shots were silhouetted against a white background, now the catalog features lifestyle photos, such as tables heaped with Balducci’s offerings. The catalog also incorporated a new color scheme, with earth-toned backgrounds reminiscent of Tuscany.

Product copy has become more detailed as well. What’s more, the Website includes information about product ingredients, recipes, and cooking instructions.

The company also beefed up its product selection, adding delicacies from caviar purveyor Petrossian and tea salon Fauchon to its menu of homemade appetizers, main course and specialty desserts. In fact, desserts and sweets have become such a strong part of Balducci’s business that the company is strongly considering spinning off a holiday catalog specializing in gifts and candy. Gilbert says the company also plans to begin selling wine on its Website this year.

Balducci’s started as a gourmet food shop in 1916; the 17-year old catalog and the nearly two-year-old Website now make up the $20 million direct division, Gilbert says that annual catalog sales, which account for 80% of the direct division’s revenue, rose 50% over the past year, though the company had more than doubled circulation. Website sales were also up 50%. Balducci’s expects sales to be up 60%-65% by mid-year.

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