Italian private labels, the emerging claims

According to Nielsen Osservatorio Immagino research team, as many as 18 out of 100 Italian private label products have an ecological claim on the label
Italian private labels, the emerging claims

Private labels of Italian food products are increasingly ‘green’. This was revealed by the eighth edition of the Osservatorio Immagino, carried out by GS1 Italy in collaboration with Nielsen research firm.

According to this report, in the last year the number of PL products whose packaging shows at least one claim related to sustainability has risen to 6,407. Sales grew as well, by +10.2%, reaching over 1.7 billion euros.

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With an annual growth of +12.3% in value, sales of private labels products coming from sustainable agriculture and breeding exceeded 870 million euros. The most significant increases in value were achieved by F&B showing the “without antibiotics” claim (+198.9%), driven by a combined effect of an increase in the assortment (+54.8%) and a boom in demand (+144.1%).

Very positive performance also for products with “100% natural ingredients” (+26.4%), “supply chain/traceability” (+18.7%) and “certified organic/EU Organic” (+10.1%). Sales of “GMO-free” products, on the other hand, fell by 7.3%.

Sustainability within Italy’s F&B private labels

Products number% PL share on total sustainable productsSales in value (€)% Sales in value share
Total of sustainable products (PL)6,40726.6%1,734,421,11522.8%
Sustainable resources’ management2,05721.5%570,622,7867.5%
Sustainable agriculture and breeding3,85331.9%870,685,28111.4%
Social responsibility1,31225.7%571,598,7297.5%
Respect for animals808.2%30,740,0240.4%
Source: Osservatorio Immagino GS1 Italy, ed.2 2020


Double-digit annual growth (+13.5%) was also recorded by the sales of 1,312 food products whose labels indicate a commitment to social responsibility. In fact, they generated a sell-out of 572 million euros in hypermarkets and supermarkets.

This basket is mainly driven by certification from responsibly managed forests FSC (+14% in annual sales), followed by Fairtrade (+7%) and UTZ (+104%), although the latter is limited to a small number of products on the shelf.


With 2,057 branded products made with a focus on sustainable resource management, retailers have exceeded 571 million euros in sales (+6.3% annually). Among the indications on the label that record the most significant increases in sales we can find “compostable” (+35.1%), “biodegradable” (+26.5%), “less use of plastic in packaging” (+43.1%) and “waste reduction” (+14.3%). The trend is positive also for personal care and home care products that boast “vegetable” ingredients and the “absence of phosphates” (+14%).

The sales of 80 private label products whose packaging carry a claim regarding sustainable fishing techniques or the exclusion of tests conducted on animals grew by +5.3%. Products with “Friend of the sea” and “Cruelty free” claims achieved 30 million euros sell-outs, almost all of which were concentrated within groceries.

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