Italian food suppliers are targeting the UK with a website that will sell direct to consumers.

Italia del Gusto, a consortium of more than 20 independent Italian food producers, which includes olive oil brand Filippo Berio, pasta maker Barilla and drinks company San Benedetto, is set to officially launch consumer-facing website in the new year.

The site, which is currently undergoing live testing, will offer visitors a range of recipes for popular Italian dishes, while an e-commerce facility (also launching next year) will allow shoppers to buy Italian brands direct from the site.

Speaking to The Grocer at this weeks’ Sial conference in Paris, Italia del Gusto director general Alberto Volpe said the website would be an alternative route to the UK market for established Italian brands.

“There is a real appetite for all things Italian in the UK,” said Volpe. “This is designed to inspire and educate consumers about authentic Italian food.”

He added many consumers were unaware they were buying non-authentic Italian food or so-called “fake Italian” from global multinationals, while many independent Italian companies had lacked the scale to export before the foundation of Italia del Gusto in 2007.

The consortium hopes to roll out the website on a global scale if successful in the UK.

“For most independent Italian brands, the UK is the jewel in the crown,” said Emanuele Siena, marketing director of Filippo Berio parent Salov SPA.