Artisan Italian

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The Artisan Italian won both silver and gold awards for their wonderful pasta sauce at the 2023 awards. We were eager to know more about these masters of their craft, and asked them some questions.

Please tell us when your company was founded and some of its history.

Artisan Italian was founded in South Africa in 2019.  Coming from a heritage-rich Italian family (which is now spread across the globe in the Italy, UK, France, USA, South Africa, Namibia to name a few countries) we have always believed in a solid “all natural” diet, an ethos which underpins the majority of our food preparation and cooking. 

We have generally refrained from buying bottled food products / sauces due to what we found to be the synthetic nature of these and of course the preservatives, which, we believe, are largely unnatural for the human system.  We found it quite intriguing actually that there were so many products on the market and yet so few had managed to capture the true essence of “good old-fashioned home cooking”.  Being Italian, we, of course, love to share our passion for food and, in particular, we have, for many years, been bottling our own “Artisan style, all natural” Pasta sauces and gifting these to friends.

Over time, we became very confident in our ability to produce and bottle an all-natural product with a shelf life which lasts multiple years – and this spawned the idea for us to have a bit of fun and put a label on the bottle so that our friends would remember what they have in their pantry.

After some thought on this, we decided, “hey, if we’re going to the effort of designing a label, let's go all-in, design a really cool label and go commercial”.

A few months later, the first exquisitely labelled bottles of “SUGO – Artisan Italian Pasta Sauce” rolled off the production line.

SUGO was launched in Jacksons Real Food Market in early April 2020, yip, at the start of the Covid lockdown, and quite accidentally this proved to be a major positive strategic move since you may recall that bottled / canned products were flying off the shelves as consumers anticipated major food shortages.

Since then, we have been quite strategic or selective in where we place SUGO as in this initial phase of the business we thought it's best for SUGO to be associated with retail brands that have a strong slant towards healthy, organic and all natural food products – SUGO now being available in many retailers in Johannesburg.

We have been quite overwhelmed with the positive feedback that we have received on SUGO and as we now say, “The proof of concept is successful, let's grow this thing”.

As such, we are actively marketing to retailers and distributors to carry the SUGO brand.

Watch this space !!

0. The SUGO Trio
The SUGO trio of Sauces.
Please tell us about some of the unique features of your company.

We are small, we are agile, our values are firmly intact, and we have a relentless and uncompromising perspective on quality and excellence.

We are Italian, we are passionate, we are loud, we speak with our hands – we share an enviable enjoyment of family, food, friends, vino and life.

Furthermore, we naturally and seamlessly fuse all of this into our work ethic, the result of which will always deliver great products.

1. SUGO Napoletana
SUGO Napoletana Sauce.
What do you think are some of the unique products you have?

Our flagship brand at the moment, SUGO – Artisan Italian Pasta Sauce is an absolute bestseller.  Sugo is currently produced in 3 delicious flavours:

  1. SUGO Napoletana Sauce - Imported Italian tomato base with basil, a blend of other fine Italian herbs and a few other base natural ingredients
  2. SUGO Arrabbiata Sauce - Our Napoletana base sauce with a mild blend of chilli
  3. SUGO Campagnola - An adjusted Napoletana base, prepared with fresh, finely diced vegetables (red/green/yellow peppers, baby marrow and brinjal)

All sauces are made with all-natural ingredients and contain zero preservatives, zero artificial colourants, zero artificial flavour and zero added sugar. 

The bottle size is also 490g (net), generally larger than most other similar products, ensuring sufficient portion sizing as well as comparatively better value for the paying customer.

Whilst SUGO is labelled as a “Pasta Sauce”, the feedback indicates consumers are using it in many ways, and we hence also market it as a “Topping for any dish”.

Please tell us what is unique about your production/manufacturing process, and your philosophy around this.

As mentioned before, SUGO is an all-natural product, and we do not make use of any preservatives or any artificial ingredients.  Without giving too many secrets away, through our meticulous production process we are managing to achieve a shelf life which extends into years, maintaining incredible product quality.

The kudos for this really belongs to my late father, who was instrumental not only in developing our wonderful recipes, but also in perfecting our manufacturing process.

Our philosophy is to maintain the authenticity of SUGO being artisanal and all-natural – and hence our production process ensures we can achieve this in an all-natural product which has a combination of incredible shelf life and commercially viability.

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What do you think is your distinct advantage or reason for your success?

We believe our ethos and our product place us quite favourably in the market.  SUGO is an all-natural product, which, we believe, is perfectly in line with a society which is fast becoming aware of a more natural and healthy eating lifestyle.

We are also uncompromising on quality, and each bottle of SUGO produced goes through a really rigorous lifecycle of quality checks.  We recognise how incredibly hard we need to work to build a successful brand, and this can so easily be eroded through small glitches in product quality.

Of course, let's not forget the passion that goes into every single bottle.  SUGO is our opportunity to share this passion with our customers.

Our aim is quite literally to re-calibrate consumer expectations !!

2. SUGO Arrabbiata
SUGO Arrabiata Sauce.
What is the consumer demographic of your products, and what feedback are you getting?

SUGO is no doubt a premium product, and we have been meticulous in sourcing specific ingredients, which results in the incredible quality of the SUGO which finds its way onto the table of our customers.

As such, our target market is a consumer who values and associates themselves with an explicit combination of exceptional quality, great taste and good health.

As I mentioned before, the feedback to date has been extremely positive and quite flattering, actually.  Mission accomplished, I guess.

How do you see your company or product on the global stage?

We are in our infancy currently and whilst we believe we have a product that can compete on the global stage, we have a way to go before we are ready for that.  However, the export market is obviously attractive from South Africa and the current thinking (albeit very early days) is to target specific niche geographies which are in line with the SUGO brand profile.


3. SUGO Campagnola
SUGO Campagnola Sauce.

In what countries can your products be found?

We are currently only in South Africa as it's early days for the SUGO brand, and we are actively looking for retailers to carry the SUGO brand.  But opportunity often knocks unexpectedly, so who knows where SUGO will be in the months / years to come.

Please tell us if you have any innovations in the pipeline for the future.

We are currently testing some really exciting recipes which we believe augment the current trio of flavours really well.

Contact details:

Contact person: Aldo Sguazzin (CEO)

Email Address:

Contact Number: +27 (0)82 888 3292