As the second commercial partner for Italy in Food & Beverage and first in the world for food imports and consumption of organic products, the United States is one of the most promising markets for Made in Italy organic F&B. This is the opinion of 26% of organic food companies interviewed by research institute Nomisma for Italian Trade Agency and Italy’s food producers’ association FederBio.
In 2020, total sales of Italian organic food products on international markets reached 2.6 billion euros growing by +8% compared to 2019 – while food exports as a whole grew only by +4%.
ORGANIC FOOD IN THE US BY THE NUMBERS
With 4.6 billion euros of Italian F&B exports in 2019 (+11% compared to 2018), the United States is the second largest destination market for Italy’s food products.
Data from latest Nomisma’s consumer survey reveal a deep diffusion of organic food in the US. Almost 9 out of 10 households (89%) consumed an organic branded food or beverage during 2020, compared to 82% in 2016. Other factors that give the US a high-potential market for organic include, on the one hand, the share of heavy users (40% of the total) and a strong interest that does not stop at home consumption. Up to 76% of consumers report having consumed some of these products in the away-from-home channel as well.
Food safety (expressed by a third of consumers), superior quality (25%) and attention to the environment (22%) are the main reasons for American consumers to choose organic products.
Given the current health crisis, 10% of Americans say that the organic wording has become an increasingly important food spending criterion. During 2020, 6% started to buy this kind of products for the first time while 36% (of already users) increased their spending.
WHY ITALIAN PRODUCTS ARE IDEAL FOR THE US MARKET
US consumers put Italy in first place when it comes to the “origin of quality” ranking, both in relation to food products in general (28% indicate “Italy” when they think of the excellence of F&B) and for those with an organic wording on the label (26%).
About 71% of Americans perceive a higher quality of Italian products compared to those of other countries, so much so that more than 8 out of 10 are willing to pay a higher price to get the Made in Italy guarantee. One consumer out of four says he/she has bought at least once Italian food or beverages with an “organic label”, although only a little more than half (57%) actually check the label for information on the origin of ingredients and place of production.
Wine, extra-virgin olive oil and pasta are the product categories on which the Italian origin is a distinctive factor for Americans. There are no obstacles to the combination of organic and Made in Italy, not even in the future: 65% say they are interested in buying an Italian product with an organic label if it is available through their usual channels. Two out of three of the current non-users, in fact, have never tried Italian products because they can’t find them in the assortment, and 21% don’t yet know their distinctive features.