Due to its central geographic location in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean, Italy remains home to a large consumer market, with a population of more than 60.36 million that is keen on travelling and foreign cuisines. As one of the world’s most culturally and economically advanced countries, with high ranking in quality of life, as well as a member of numerous international institutions, including the European Union, the NATO, the OECD, the WTO, the Schengen Area and many more, Italy proves its position as the third-largest economy in the eurozone, with a GDP estimated at $2.4 trillion.
ITALIAN FOOD IMPORT OVERVIEW
- Italian food importers are in general small to medium-sized companies, thus they prefer to import smaller quantities, but of a wider range of items.
- Quality, novelty and price are popular significant characteristics for food import purchases.
- Best import prospects are dairy, meat, condiments, sauces, snacks, and food preparations, as well as functional, healthy, organic, free-from products, specialty foods.
- Food import in Italy reached $23.6 billion in 2019 and is mostly represented by European players like Germany, Spain, France, Netherlands, Belgium, and Poland among others.
TRENDS & OPPORTUNITIES
MEAL KITS & CONVENIENCE
Busy lifestyles drive Italians, especially from the urban area, to look for ready meals solutions. In this regard, ready meals, baking mixes, desserts, and lunch kits are of high interest now in Italy due to a wide range of ingredients and the customer preference for time-efficiency and convenience, be it consumed at home, on the go, or at work.
RAW PRODUCTS & INGREDIENTS
Italy is a net agricultural importer, dependent on a significant amount of raw materials and ingredients for its processing and manufacturing of goods, intended for domestic consumption and export. Food exporters have a wide range of opportunities as Italy is dependent of foreign countries due to a lack of self-sufficient in many product categories: sugar, chocolate, fish, dairy, meats, olives for olive oil domestic production and export, as well as cereals like wheat and barley for the production of pasta.
ETHNIC & EXOTIC INGREDIENTS AND PRODUCTS
As the Italian population become more well-travelled and international, there is growing interest in exotic and ethnic ingredients, products, and recipes. Taste in this niche segment gained popularity with market players who introduced cuisine focused items for consumers` experimentation, as well as the development of foreign restaurants and fast food.
Although Italy is not a coffee-growing country, coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in Italy, in every age category, be it for energizing or relaxation purposes. Per capita consumption is forecasted to reach 5 kg by 2021, thus this trend also boosted the emergence of cafes and bars, and many companies seek to launch their own businesses in the country.
Ageing, increased focus on healthy lifestyles and diets over the past years encouraged Italians to be keener of functional food products, fresh food and ingredients, food origin, as well as avoid food additives.
Animal and environmental welfare are also valued by Italians who are increasingly focused on their purchase consequences, thus the popular demand for ethical, sustainable products, as well as spending towards organics within eggs, poultry, fruits and vegetables.
As Italian consumers` taste become more sophisticated, the demand for high nutrition, added-value, protein-rich items are increasingly popular, especially for dairy and spreads. In the same manner, manufacturers and retailers continue to expand and adapt their portfolio to include vegan and vegetarian alternatives, as well as other superfoods.
TIPS TO ENTER THE ITALIAN FOOD MARKET
- Ensure you comply with market regulations and offer information transparency about your products and business as Italians put a lot of attention on trust.
- Stay active and informed of the food trade shows to promote yourself and find opportunities to connect to significant peers in the industry.
- Sales channels in Italy are diversified, from hypermarkets/supermarkets, discounters, and specialized stores to traditional shops and markets. Modern retailers, discounters in particularly, win the competition as they quickly adapt their products according to emerging market trends and customer behaviours and preference. With sales amounting to $145 billion in 2019, a winning sales strategy implies multi-channel presence.
3 Food Importers from Italy:
- Assonut Srl
Address: Corso Garibaldi, 38, Afragola
Phone: +39 081 852 1801
- Barea Srl
Address: Via F.lli Bandiera, 2, Quinto
Phone: +39 0422 470222
- Serrafrutta Srl
Address: Via Del Commercio 20, Villanova D’albenga
Phone: +39 0182 21034
To get access to a list of more active food importers from Italy, you can access one of the BestFoodImporters databases.