Unstoppable: the Italian food supply chain will be worth €575 billion by the end of the year

Despite the pandemic hiccups the sector will grow +7%, according to Coldiretti the association of Italian farmers

This year, food is set to become Italy’s main wealth with a total value of 575 billion euros for the supply chain. The growth is +7% compared to 2020, despite the difficulties related to Covid-19. These data were provided by the analysis of the association of Italian farmers Coldiretti at the inauguration of the International Forum of Agriculture and Food in Rome.

The Italian F&B revenues are worth almost a quarter of the national GDP. Four million workers are involved in the supply chain

In the second year of the pandemic, the Italian agri-food chain has shown remarkable resilience. The increase in turnover benefits agriculture, industry, and large-scale distribution, while the catering industry is starting to grow again after a disastrous 2020. The result is that Made in Italy’s food&beverage revenues are now worth almost a quarter of the national GDP. From the field to the table, 4 million workers are involved in the supply chain, distributed throughout 740 thousand farms, 70 thousand food industries, over 330 thousand restaurants, and 230 thousand retail stores.

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It is no coincidence that Italian F&B will record an all-time high in exports at the end of the year, reaching for the first time 52 billion euros if the current sales trend (+12%) is maintained (source: Coldiretti projections based on Istat data for the first nine months of 2021).

Italian F&B, the top destination markets (January-August 2021)

Source: Coldiretti elaboration on Istat data

Among the main destination markets for Italian food, we find the United States, which ranks second with an increase in sales of +17% in the period January-August 2021 (compared to 2020). There is also a positive trend in Germany, which ranks first among the importing countries of Italian food with an increase of +7%, equal to that of France which is stable in third place. Fourth place goes to the UK, although sales are stagnant due to the difficulties linked to Brexit. Among the other markets, Coldiretti reports growths of +15% in Russia and +47% in China.


At the base of the success of Italian food is an agriculture that is now the greenest in Europe thanks to the leadership in organic production (80 thousand operators), as well as the highest number of PDO/PGI/TGS products, recognized specialties (316), 526 PDO/PGI wines, and 5,333 traditional food products. Italy is the main European producer of rice, durum wheat, and wine, as well as of many vegetables typical of the Mediterranean Diet such as tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes, fresh chicory, endives, celery, and fennel. As far as fruit is concerned, Italy is the top producer of fresh apples and pears, cherries, table grapes, kiwis, hazelnuts, and chestnuts.

The global emergency caused by Covid has brought about a widespread awareness of the strategic value represented by food, as well as the necessary guarantees of quality and safety,” says Coldiretti’s President Ettore Prandini.

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