The Italian food sector is worth €575 billion

F&B are the main wealth of the country, according to the analysis presented at Cibus 2022 by the association of Italian farmers Coldiretti

Food has become the main wealth of Italy for a value of 575 billion euros in 2021, up +7% compared to 2020 despite the difficulties related to the pandemic. This is what emerges from the analysis of Coldiretti – the association of Italian farmers – released on the occasion of Cibus 2022.

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Overall, the Italian food & beverage is now worth almost a quarter of the national GDP. From field to table, the sector involves as many as four million workers in 740 thousand farms, 70 thousand food industries, over 330 thousand catering facilities, and 230 thousand retail outlets.


With an increase of +21.6% and a total value of 52 billion euros, Italian food exports hit an all-time high in 2021. According to Coldiretti’s analysis of Istat foreign trade data for the first two months of 2022, Italian f&b exports are growing further.

Italian food export sales: fastest-growing markets in the first two months of 2022

Source: Coldiretti’s analysis of Istat foreign trade data

In Germany, which is the main market for Italian food, there was an increase in sales of +11.1% in the two-month period, while in the United States (which ranks second) growth was +21.9%, and in France +17.9%. A notable increase was seen in the UK (+39.5%), despite Brexit. The collapse of exports to China (-29.5%) is worrying, and probably due to the consequences of the pandemic.


At the base of the success of Italian food, we find agriculture that in recent years has become the greenest in Europe. This is demonstrated by the leadership in the organic sector with 80 thousand operators, the highest number of recognized PDO/PGI/TGS specialties (316), 526 PDO/PGI wines, and 5,333 traditional food products.

Italy is the first EU producer of rice, durum wheat, wine, and many vegetables that are typical of the Mediterranean diet such as tomatoes, eggplants, artichokes, fresh chicory, endives, celery, and fennel. As for fruits, it excels in many important productions: fresh apples, pears, cherries, table grapes, kiwis, hazelnuts, and chestnuts.

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