Our Story

Small beginnings

In the Beginning

The story of European Foods Wholesalers is a migrant success story involving food, family and sheer hard work.

Born in Fremantle, Western Australia in 1908, John Re was the second of 10 sons of Italian migrants. Food was always central to his life as he grew up in his mother's Italian kitchen, looked after his father's food store from the age of 14 and opened a fruit shop with his wife Maria in 1932.

Europe on a platter

In 1936, during the gloomy days of the Great Depression, John and Maria took a risk. They pawned Maria's engagement ring to buy a property in Northbridge. Here they opened The Re Store, which was to become one of Perth's first retailers of continental foods, which John and Maria imported from Europe.

The Re Store's products found a ready market among Western Australia's growing migrant population, who were hungry for the flavours they enjoyed in their old countries.

Around the same time, John and Maria began roasting coffee beans under their own Braziliano Coffee label. A ‘real' cup of coffee was considered a rare and exotic commodity in Perth in 1936. The freshly roasted brew offered a nostalgic taste of home to new arrivals from Europe and brought a taste of today's cafe society to Western Australia half a century ahead of its time.

European Foods Wholesalers opens

European Foods History

In 1960, the Re family decided to expand into the wholesale side of the food industry. They founded European Foods Wholesalers to make their international gourmet products available to other food retailers and the hospitality industry. The Re Stores remained as the group's own specialty retail outlets.

At a time when Australia's eating habits were more chops than cannelloni, John and Maria were two of the many pioneers of today's Australian multicultural food culture.

In the Italian tradition, the business was a family affair and the couple's daughters and sons-in-laws all worked hard to help the enterprise expand.

Embracing new tastes

Since it began, European Foods Wholesalers has been a trendsetter on the Australian food scene. While proud of its tradition, the company has also been quick to embrace new tastes and ways of doing business.

In 1965, the firm was amongst the first to develop the concept of ‘house brands' with the introduction of its Bibo range products, Cecilia olive oils and the ‘famous' Farnese wines. Thanks to continuing hard work, these house brands continue to remain popular more than 50 years on. At the same time, the business has continued to research and develop new brands to continue to remain at the forefront of the industry.

From Baci Perugina chocolates to Bayernland cheese and Barilla pasta, many of Australia's best-loved imported foods and beverages were introduced to Australia by European Foods during the 1960s, 70s and 80s, reflecting a growing taste for multicultural produce. Popular drinks La Modenese Lambrusco, Galliano and Riccadonna were added during the 80s and 90s, while the start of the new millenium heralded the introduction of San Pellegrino, Acqua Panna to name a few more.

Going forward

European Foods Today

Today, European Foods Wholesalers is moving forward with renewed vigour.

Strategic partnerships with many of the same icon brands remain in place, a testament to the level of representation and commitment the European Foods Wholesalers team continues to offer the manufacturers it represents.

A progressive approach to business can be seen in the adoption of new technology, world-class quality assurance systems and customer training programmes.

The company continues to bring to the Australian market an extensive range of quality products and superior customer service, bundled with importer direct competitive pricing.

As the food industry has evolved under the influence of cafe strips, TV chefs and cultural diversity, European Foods Wholesalers has responded by constantly sourcing and introducing new products.

Just as our founders turned a passion for food into a thriving enterprise decades ago, European Foods Wholesalers continues to mix passion with progressive business practice in a recipe for success.