From Philly with Love: Rosati Ice in Mexico
What used to be a tradition from West Philadelphia is now going international.
Philadelphia’s own Rosati Ice has started a new venture beyond the local market and into international distribution, thanks to the versatility of their product and the development of a unique recipe with flavors that have roots in Mexico.
The legacy of Sam Rosati has spanned more than 100 years: it is the oldest Italian ice company in the region and the longest running in the United States. Sam Rosati began making Italian ices cranked by hand in the basement of his West Philadelphia home in 1912, and the first flavor he started selling from horse-drawn wagons throughout the city was lemon.
Fast-forward a full century and besides having created iconic flavors like crybaby cherry, the classic rainbow ice water and the happy birthday cup, they’ve have added a product perhaps new to the average American consumer, but very familiar to the Mexican palate.
This unique flavor, which in Mexico is commonly known as “chamoyada” combines the taste of mango with chamoy (a salty, sweet, sour, and spicy condiment sauce). "The big challenge was to develop the spicy flavor. I had no idea how to differentiate a good chamoy from a bad one," said Rich Trotter, president of Rosati Ice.
“We have lots of partners in Mexico, California, Arizona and Texas who encouraged me to develop the mangoneada flavor. It took several years to perfect the formulation and is now our first flavor in Mexico,” Trotter said. “I am grateful, thankful and proud to introduce our century-old company to our neighbor country to the south.”
Rosati’s venture in the Aztec country began through a recommendation by the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association (WUSATA), which had accompanied Trotter in a trade mission in Mexico.
“We tried the product and began to work together to develop into the market,” said Rosati’s representative in Mexico, Edgar García.
García believes that what differentiates Rosati Ice is its unique taste and excellent quality. “It is really hard to try and match its flavor, especially with flavors as particular as mango chamoy, where it is difficult to create the mixture of flavors to be ... not too sweet and not to spicy. Just the perfect mix.”
According to the Food Export Association of the Midwest USA, in April 2014, S.R. Rosati, Inc. made their first export sale of ‘Mangoneada’ to the broker in Mexico totaling $35,000. And by June of the same year, they exported another $60,000.
Currently the mangoneada flavor is distributed in 2 quart “party pails” across Mexico through 188 Sam’s Club sites. This year they have expanded to 250 stores in the northern region of the country in states like Chihuahua, Sonora, Baja California and Nuevo Leon.
García said that later in the year their goal is to introduce new flavors to the Mexican market like cherry and Rainbow Ice water.
“Of course, as we become more well known in Mexico our hope is to allow that notoriety precede us into the rest of Central and South America as well as the Caribbean. Our hope is that in 10 years we will have Rosati Ice in every country in Latin America. Maybe even Cuba and Venezuela,” Trotter said.