Olli Salumeria Pioneers First Preservative-Free Salami in North America

Olli Salumeria Pioneers First Preservative-Free Salami in North America

Olli Salemeria claims to be the first company to bring preservative-free salami to the North American market. Photo courtesy of Olli Salumeria.

California-based Olli Salumeria, known for its high-quality, artisanal salami, recently made a groundbreaking announcement: it’s launching the first preservative-free salami in the North American market. This innovation is a combination of the company’s traditional salami-making process and cutting-edge food technology.

Founded by Oliviero Colmignoli, a descendant of Italian meat processing pioneers, Olli Salumeria’s history dates back to 1850 in Italy’s Umbria province. There, Oliviero’s great-great-grandfather began crafting dry sausages at home, a tradition passed down through generations. 

Today, the company continues to honor these roots while embracing technological advancements. Olli Salumeria now produces 30,000 pounds of high-end artisan salami every week at its Oceanside factory, employing 50 workers and utilizing modern machinery to ensure optimal quality and safety standards​​. Xtalks reached out to Olli Salumeria to find out more.

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The company’s product range includes various salami varieties, snack packs featuring combinations like Pepperoni with Mozzarella Cheese and La Panzanella Crackers, and Sopressata Salami paired with Cheddar Cheese and La Panzanella Crackers. It also offers diverse antipasto trays like Parmesan & Frescatrano Olives paired with Genoa and Sopressata Salami and all-meat trays featuring a selection of salami varieties​.

“The initial brainstorming for Olli’s preservative-free formulation began in the fall of 2020, followed by a challenge study for food safety initiated in April 2021 and the final formulation completed and finalized in October 2021,” a company spokesperson told Xtalks. “From there, fine-tuned the recipes throughout 2022 and made adjustments to our manufacturing processes in preparation for production in 2023. In all, the process took 2.5 years from the initial concept to a finished, perfected preservative-free salami product.”

The preservative-free formula, applied initially to its Salamini and Chubs lines, eliminates all added nitrates and nitrites, which are traditionally used to stabilize salami during curing. Nitrates and nitrites serve several purposes in food preservation since they inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria, help to maintain the pink or red color of cured meats and contribute to the distinctive flavor of cured meats.

However, there are concerns about the consumption of nitrates and nitrites. When cooked or broken down in the stomach, nitrites can form nitrosamines, some of which have been found to be carcinogenic in animal studies. For this reason, many manufacturers are now looking for alternatives to traditional nitrate/nitrite curing, and “nitrate-free” or “nitrite-free” products are becoming more common. These often use celery juice or powder, which naturally contains nitrates, as a substitute.

The demand for clean label products, characterized by minimally processed foods with simple, natural ingredients, has also surged in recent years. According to Research and Markets, the global clean label ingredients market is expected to reach $32.08 billion by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.65 percent, making Olli Salumeria’s innovation timely and essential.

The company’s new curing process relies on a simplified salt cure and naturally occurring polyphenolic compounds, which are beneficial antioxidants commonly found in foods like berries, dark chocolate and red wine. Enrico Porrino, Olli Salumeria’s director of R&D, assures in a press release that this unique, preservative-free formula results in salami with the same complex flavor and less acidic taste that customers associate with Olli Salami.

Mary Ellen Phipps, a registered dietitian nutritionist, supports Olli’s initiative, stating in the same press release that the company’s preservative-free formula represents a significant step forward in making salami a healthier snack and mealtime protein source. The move aligns with Olli Salumeria’s belief in simplicity, combining simple ingredients, simple processes and a lot of patience to create the world’s best-tasting salami.

While Olli Salumeria takes a monumental stride with their preservative-free salami, the other products in its portfolio continue to maintain high safety and quality standards, using salt and alternative curing agents sourced from natural ingredients. The company’s ultimate goal is to apply this preservative-free technology across their entire product line, demonstrating its commitment to the health-conscious consumer and its dedication to continuous innovation in the salami-making tradition.

“We certainly expect that other competitors will be challenging Olli for market share, now that we have introduced Preservative-Free salami to market, it’s only a matter of time,” the spokesperson added. “But given the long-lead for developing preservative free (and that we use a proprietary formula) and the quality and flavor of our salami, Olli is well positioned ahead of the competition.”