How Covid pandemic could get in the way of Italian PDO Economy

This year Italian Geographical Indications’ total sales could drop by 3.4 billion euros as higher quality products seem more vulnerable to the crisis
How Covid pandemic could get in the way of Italian PDO Economy

The Covid pandemic is thwarting Italian Geographical Indications, as in 2020 Italian GIs total sales could drop by 3.4 billion euros. In fact, the pandemic crisis has shown that higher quality products are more vulnerable. Italy boasts 838 Geographical Indication products: 526 wines and 312 foods. The GIs production value estimated by Ismea – Qualivita in 2019 is 16.9 billion (9.5 billion of which are for exports), equal to 20% of the total food sector.

According to Ismea, the wine business will suffer a drop of one billion euros in the Ho. Re. Ca. channel. A drop in exports of about 200 million euros is expected, almost 1.5 billion of which due to “wine tourism”.

In the dairy sector the loss could amount to 230 million (100 million of which are exports). For cured meats the decrease will amount to 120 million – plus 30 million for exports. In the fresh meat sector the decrease will be 10 million.

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According to our estimates, sales of Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI dropped by -10% in value and -5% in volume this year” – says the protection Consortium’s director, Federico Desimoni. “Premium products and small producers have suffered, the latter with volume drops of -30% / -40%. Our companies are solid and they will be able to recover in 2021, provided that there is a gradual return to normality” – says Desimoni. In 2019, Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI’s companies declared a total turnover close to one billion.


The trend is even worse for the business of Prosciutto di Parma PDO. According to the protection Consortium, the drop in demand was hard at the supermarkets’ counters and following the closure of Ho. Re. Ca sector. The 2020 estimates foresee a drop in sales by 10% to 15% in volume, even if there is still uncertainty linked to Christmas holidays and exports.


A drop in demand and overproduction are the reasons behind the 3% cut in production for the next three years decided by the Consortia of Parmigiano Reggiano PDO and Grana Padano PDO. Together, these leading and iconic dairy Italian products represent over 3 billion in production value.

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