Pasta, Pizza & Rice

Italian rice variety: the latest trends

In Italy, there are over 200 different varieties of rice. Something no one else can claim as most have always considered it as a mere commodity

Pasta and pizza are still the undisputed rulers of the Italian cuisine, however, rice is beginning to carve itself a comfortable spot among Italy’s favorite staples. Thanks to a 52.5% share in the European market (2018), Italy is by far the largest rice producer in Europe.

As a matter of fact, 85% of the European demand for sushi rice is satisfied by Italy alone. According to Ente Nazionale Risi, in the 2017/2018 period, Italy exported a total of 671,000 tonnes (+5%) of rice, for a total value of 510 million euro (+2.6%). France, Germany and the UK are still the main destination markets, with a combined share just shy of 50%. Over 40% of all exported rice stays within the EU, while the remaining 12% goes to non-EU countries, especially Turkey.

ITALIAN COMPANIES PROMOTION ACTIVITIES

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ITALIAN RICE TRENDS

  • Growing demand for high quality rice that is ideal for making risotto;
  • Foreign consumers go for certified products: some players are promoting both the brand and the whole supply chain;
  • Convenience as a must” due to current urban lifestyles;
  • A shift towards healthier products;
  • Spending more time preparing and cooking meals, regardless of time constraints.

NOT ONLY THE ARBORIO VARIETY

Both in the retail and foodservice/HoReCa sectors new varieties are becoming more popular: Carnaroli, Vialone Nano, Arborio, Roma, Baldo and Sant’Andrea. Noteworthy, are the continuous efforts that companies – among which we can find Riso Scotti, Riso Gallo, Acquerello, and Grandi Riso, are making to improve the quality of their products.

International buyers appreciate a product that is safe, subject to strict monitoring and compliant with all EU rules. Consumers are doing their bit too as they are now willing to spend more on rice that has a high added value or that comes with some kind of innovation. In the meantime, many leading foreign chefs are recognizing the value of Italian rice, especially in the preparation of one of Italy’s classics – risotto.

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