Charcuterie News, May 2021

Meet Carmine Ventura, Managing Director of South Food Group

In this edition of Charcuterie News, we interview Domenic and Carmine Ventura, the owners of South Food Group, a Smallgoods manufacturing company. South Food Group operate out of Melbourne’s South-Eastern suburb of Clayton, a location they have called home for over 20 years.

The Ventura family originated in Abruzzo Italy, where their passion for the industry was born.

For over three generations they have perfected the art of creating Italian delicacies.

Son Domenic and grandson Carmine Jnr continue the family tradition in Melbourne and specialise in meat products for the retail and food service industry domestically and internationally in Asia/Pacific markets.

Domenic’s father, Carmine Snr, came to Australia in the 1940’s and opened a butcher store in Fitzroy, a trade his father and grandfather worked in.

They endeavor to continue to develop European style meats which include prosciutto, pancetta, chorizo, bresaola, salami, and the finest sausages.

Domenic and Carmine boost an impressive range of brands under the South Food Group umbrella. These include Casalingo; Greenvale Farm; Crackle and Co; Fiora; and Chicharon. Their products range has broadened over the past 10 years and now includes 100 stock keeping units of produce including charcuterie style meats, Italian delicacies, and specialty snack foods.

Domenic and Carmine believe their point of difference is using traditional recipes, offering a huge range of products, and their involvement and sponsorship of the local Children’s Hospital.

“Our goal is simple: to produce high quality products using our family heritage from Europe and deliver an authentic flavour to our consumers.”

Carmine outlined the company’s plans to build a new state of the art facility to continue to modernise the business and keep up with consumer demand.

“Our current plant was renovated in 2014 but as our export market has grown, we are keen to upgrade our plant in the near future.”

There customer base has grown significantly over the past 10 years and includes a large Asia/Pacific export base, domestic food service, retail specialty and major supermarkets.

The addition of specialty snack food has provided South Food Group with a greater variety of value-added products and helped to expand customer reach.

South Food Group currently employs around 45 people who occupy a variety of roles throughout the company.

“We are a family business, many of our employees have been with us for a long time and have built our business. We treat all our staff like family.”

As well as their manufacturing plant, they have a retail shop where many locals flock to purchase their products. Domenic and Carmine are very active in the local community where their passion for the industry through the products they create is evident.

“While we have consumers all over Australia and the Asia/Pacific region, we value our local customer base and community immensely. We sponsor local football teams and contribute to a number of charities that help to feed the homeless.”

Domenic and Carmine’s products have been renowned domestically and in overseas markets. Most notably, their Greenvale Farm free range brand has won champion of prosciutto and capocollo at the Royal Fine Foods awards.

When asked where they see South Food Group in the future, the men answered: “We want to continue to grow our business and develop new products for the retail/export market. Our snack food arm is something we want to grow.”

Domenic and Carmine only craft delicacies they are proud to eat and always strive to make products healthier and tastier for customers.

When asked what advice they have for someone considering a career within the industry they said: “Give it a go. It may not be the most glamourous industry but with a variety of products there is always something new to learn. We are screaming out for young talent.”

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