Export: outstanding results for Italian cheeses in 2019

Excellent performance also thanks to the boom in Asian markets. But the coronavirus calls everything into question

Italian cheeses exports achieved another important growth in 2019: +6.3% in volume and +11.2% in value. According to Italy’s dairy industry association, Assolatte, after the 2018 slowdown last year export sales of Italian cheeses exceeded 3 billion euros and 450 thousand tons.

These are important results, as well as good news that we can give in these difficult days – says Giuseppe Ambrosi, the president of Assolatte -. The enormous investments we have made in foreign markets have paid off.” After the drop in Italian cheeses export sales in 2018 (compared to 2017) – which, however, closed positively growing by +0.7% in volume and +5.3% in value – companies in the sector have focused on promotion and the search for new outlet markets.


While much of the foreign turnover is attributable to the European market, which grew by 9.4%, and the North American market, Asian countries are showing the most interesting results. Italian companies are currently exporting 30 thousand tons of cheese to Asia for a value of 200 million euros. In 2019 there was significant sales increase in Indonesia, even if with still limited quantities, and in South Korea. Without forgetting the excellent results achieved in China (+5.9%), and Japan (+12.8%). Japan confirmed its position as the third non-EU destination for Italian cheeses.

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A great result was also achieved in the United States (+19.2% in volume and +25.0% in value). Moreover, Italian cheeses achieved a great recovery in Canada closing 2019 only slightly down (-1.5%).


Due to US tariffs and Brexit, Asian markets are taking on an increasingly strategic role in our market choices – says Ambrosi -. Unfortunately, the spread of coronavirus has not only compromised this strategy, but today we are facing a situation that is still unpredictable. We can only hypothesize important repercussions on international trade and the risk of thwarting the investments made in recent years on foreign markets in order to strengthen Made in Italy. I hope that we will soon return to normal and that the measures implemented by Italy’s government such as the Extraordinary Plan for Made in Italy 2020 and the ICE – Italian Trade Agency equipment will allow us to reduce the damage” – Ambrosi says.

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