, Salem, MA


February 20, 2013

A recipe for success

Despite recession, DiLuigi's business up 50 percent in 5 years

Family-owned DiLuigi Foods is about more than sausage these days.

And that is the recipe for the Danvers meat wholesaler’s success, company President Dean Souza says. It’s not a giant meat processor, but DiLuigi Foods is nimble and can offer a broad product line of flavored burgers, sausages, franks, marinades, skewers, steaks and chops. Offerings include everything from chicken teriyaki tips to pork broccoli rabe sausage.

DiLuigi is even offering a natural and organic line, called Aria, with no artificial ingredients, colors, chemical preservatives, antibiotics or growth hormones, said Souza, a childhood friend of the company’s owner and CEO, Louis DiLuigi Jr.

In fact, while its Italian and Chinese-style flavored sausages were once the company’s staple — the Chinese-style sausages made a name for the company in 1995 — sausages now represent just a quarter of DiLuigi’s business, Souza said.

Three years ago, the company, located at 41 Popes Lane along Route 1 north, changed its name to DiLuigi Foods, with the name, “DiLuigi Sausage Company” now part of a line of products. There are also oven-ready foods that appear in the meat departments of major supermarkets up and down the Eastern Seaboard and as far west as New York.

The company’s name change was “just so we didn’t give retailers the idea we were doing only sausage,” Souza said. “We also do a lot of steaks, as well.”

The business has grown 50 percent in the past five years, Souza said, despite the worst recession since the Great Depression.

“The growth has been there all along,” Souza said, “but to do 50 percent during the recession is a good thing.” He declined to give revenue figures, as the company is privately owned.

Since becoming president four years ago, Souza has had to make some tough calls to expand.

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