PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Consumers can now buy online the same high-quality steaks, meats and seafood that 5-star chefs and restaurants have been buying exclusively since 1976, and have it delivered direct to their door – at a fraction of what they’d pay in restaurants and priced better than other online food companies.
“We think people should have the right to enjoy the same quality food at home that they get at the best restaurants – and buy it affordably so they spend smarter and eat better,” says Ray Rastelli Jr., President of Rastelli Foods Group, who founded the company in 1976 as a single high-quality butcher shop.
Chef Guy Mitchell, Guest White House Chef, who has helped train chefs that travel with the President of the United States, says: “Rastelli Direct is one of the most exciting programs for consumers I’ve seen in 40 years in the food business because of the superiority of their food, the variety and selection, and how it is packaged for consumer convenience. They make my life easier as a chef and a consumer.”
Rastelli’s premium meats and seafood have been distributed by U.S. FoodService Inc. since 1995 and available only in famous steakhouses, restaurants, cruise lines and luxury resorts.
Highest Standards of Food Quality & Safety from “Farm to Family”
“The hallmark of our company is an extraordinary commitment to food quality and strict safety standards so our customers can trust what they put on the table for their family and friends,” says Ray Rastelli.
Parent company Rastelli Foods Group has become a supplier of choice because the company is “vertically integrated” and controls the quality and safety of food production at every step from farm to family. Rastelli Direct launched in January 2010 serving east coast consumers and just opened its Kansas City distribution facility to ship nationally.
Rastelli Direct reduces the distribution chain so customer delivery is the 5th and final step, in contrast to conventional supermarket distribution where there is usually 12 steps to the customer – with middlemen profits taken and quality control lost.
The measures Rastelli Direct takes to provide the best quality food include:
- Owning and source verifying their livestock and fish. For example, they breed only 100% Purebred Black Angus cattle, and it is certified through DNA testing. Only 4% of cattle in the United States grade to Rastelli upper 2/3 choice standards.
- Designing a healthy feed mix without antibiotics, hormones and steroids in order to produce safe, wholesome, preservative-free foods. Organic selections are raised according to strict standards; Rastelli also produces Kosher and Halal-certified meats.
With about 325,000 hospitalizations from food-borne illnesses a year, the company takes unprecedented steps to ensure food safety, operating its food manufacturing plants under rigid quality assurance and sanitation standards. For example:
- Sophisticated air filtration systems and ozonated water systems improve plant sanitation and safety. Ozonated water guards against contaminants including salmonella, lysteria and E-coli, and has been proven to have no negative ecological impact while reducing or eliminating the use of chemical cleaning agents.
- The Rastelli QA team tests ground meat for E-coli four times a day, as well as offsite through Independent laboratories, in contrast to government standards for meat processors that require E-coli testing only four times a year.
- All plants are under USDA and FDA inspection every hour they operate.
Chef Inspired, Created and Branded Products – with a Cause
Over 175 Rastelli Direct food items are chef-created and include a complete line of Elite Certified Black Angus beef cuts and Waygu Kobe Beef; all natural and organic steaks, chicken breasts and lamb; prime pork from Duroc hogs fed only vegetables; milk-fed veal; top grade fish and shellfish; a wide range of heat & serve products like baby back ribs and veal osso buco; and pastas, sauces and sides. A portion of proceeds from Rastelli Direct sales is donated to Feed The Children.
Chef Victor Orsini leads Rastelli’s Research & Menu Development, sourcing and developing the best products for Rastelli Direct customers. Branded selections include:
- Severino pastas and sauces: For over 35 years, the Philadelphia-area Severino Pasta Company has handmade its authentic, artisanal pastas with the freshest ingredients.
- Chef Delilah Winder’s Ah Ha! Mac and Cheese dish, chosen on an Oprah show as the "best of the best" in the country. Her comfort food line will expand soon.
- Tony Luke Jr.’s Pronto line of Philly beef and chicken cheesesteaks, and roast pork sandwiches.
- Philadelphia’s famous DiBruno Brothers gourmet cheeses and charcuterie will soon be available through Rastelli Direct.
- UNO pizza and pasta selections
- Cheesecake Factory and Sweet Street desserts
Consumers may order retail or join a Smart Shoppers club and receive a 20% off member price when they order monthly.
Investing in Growth: Plant Expansions & New Distribution
“People are shopping more online, and demanding safer and healthier foods, which is why we're going direct to consumer,” says Rastelli. To handle anticipated growth, in the past four months the company has:
- Announced a $22 million expansion of its New Jersey headquarters that will triple the size of the manufacturing plant and add 100 people to the workforce.
- Expanded the Rastelli Cooked Foods facility in Puerto Rico, adding 200 people to the workforce, including new jobs for local farmers and ranchers under a multi-million dollar public-private partnership with the government.
- Opened a Rastelli Direct distribution facility in Independence, MO, in historic limestone mines converted in 1975 into a vast warehouse complex. The underground facility maintains a year round temperature around 58 degrees, reducing energy usage by roughly 70% compared to above ground facilities.
A Family Devoted to Food
The Rastelli family has a deep history in the food business. It has been the family’s passion and livelihood since the 1930s when the grandparents of Ray and Tony Rastelli were running kitchens in South Philadelphia restaurants. Father and mentor Ray Rastelli Sr., started in the food business at age 14 and retired in the 1980s as president of Bluebird Food Products.
Ray Rastelli Jr. started the business as a single butcher shop in South Jersey in 1976. Brother Tony joined in 1980 and together they have grown Rastelli Foods Group to a nearly $1 billion food company that distributes to the finest restaurants, resorts, commercial institutions and the U.S. Military in over 80 countries.