It Started with Sauces
LiDestri’s rich heritage dates back to its founding in 1975 as Cantisano Foods by Ralph Cantisano, whose family previously founded and sold the Ragu Packing Company. By 1976, LiDestri was being managed by its current owner, Giovanni LiDestri, whom Cantisano selected as his protégé from the Ragu production floor. At Giovanni’s direction, the company began producing pasta sauce in 1978.
Since then, the company has been an innovator and industry-leader in sauces and salsas. But Giovanni LiDestri doesn’t believe in maintaining the status quo. In addition to his passion for improving current products and manufacturing processes, he loves to seek new opportunities, and over the past 10 years, he’s moved to diversify the company, adding spirits and beverage divisions to the food offerings. New partnerships include:
Love Beets - The U.K.-based Love Beets turns organic beets into a variety of products including juices, salads, whole roasted and marinated beets and chips and salsa.
Ithaca Hummus - Ithaca Cold-Crafted is one of the fastest growing brands in the hummus category – makes premium hummus using an innovative cold process that protects the flavors and nutrients of its fresh ingredients, including cold-pressed lemon juice and raw garlic.
Innovating from the Start
LiDestri’s Innovation Center, opened in 2014, is the embodiment of the groundbreaking spirit the company has exhibited since its earliest days when it pioneered several advances in creating sauces and salsas:
Creating the first commercial pasta sauces in the nation that were formulated with chunks of tomatoes rather than pureed tomato sauce.
Cooking sauce outside kettles, as it travels through metal pipes to the bottling lines, preserving flavor and preventing scorching.
Being first in the industry to remove cardboard between jars as flats.
Trademarked its own new package called the "Living Jar" – an ultra-clear, blow-molded, high barrier plastic PET jar from LiDestri that is a substitute to glass packaging. It’s lighter, shatterproof and more environmentally friendly. See the video:
Francesco Rinaldi Living Jar Living Jar Introduction
Still Saucing After All These Years
Today, LiDestri is one of the premier sauce makers in the country, making some 80 million cases of product every year at five locations coast to coast for some of the country’s largest and most respected retail brand and national brand partners, including Wegmans Food Markets and Newman’s Own.
Growing and Changing
Since 2003, when Ralph Cantisano retired and Giovanni LiDestri bought his stock and renamed the company, LiDestri as a company has been more focused on innovation, and due to the increasing commoditization of the sauce market, diversification. Milestones include:
LiDestri Spirits division was founded in 2009, further diversifying its capabilities and opportunities to bring great spirits to market.
LiDestri Spirits became ROC HOUSE BRANDS in 2018 with the mission to create a portfolio consisting of relevant, distinctive products that will have significant and positive market-wide impact.
LiDestri Beverage division was founded in 2008 with a recognition that consumer tastes have been changing, driving demand for healthier and more natural products. We currently offer hot fill, cold fill, aseptic and high pressure processing (HPP).
The LiDestri Innovation Center, founded in 2014, is a customer playground for innovation and R&D and has already incubated several successful products.