The future of Italian food industry

The results of the first research by Unione Italiana Food, the largest association of food industries in Europe representing more than 20 Italian food sectors and 900 brands

Despite an extremely complex international scenario, the Italian food system is determined to endure and casts its eyes on the future with optimism. The cost of raw materials (for eight out of 10 companies) and rising energy costs (75.7 percent) are the two major concerns of the Italian food companies. But for as many as two out of three companies (67.6%), exports will remain at the center of their strategies.

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According to seven out of 10 companies, the current difficulties will not stop ongoing investments in sustainability, and for 84.5 percent of Italian food companies, the crisis will boost the system by becoming a real opportunity. All this emerges from the first survey carried out on a sample of more than 100 Italian food companies by Unione Italiana Food the largest association of food categories in Europe representing 550 agribusiness Italian companies.

For the food sector, the shortage of raw materials due to the war in Ukraine is a great problem, capable of creating significant damage. Although the scenario may be discouraging, we want to keep an optimistic outlook. Italian entrepreneurs are an example of skill, inventiveness, and resilience. The future of food also depends on the future of the food industry and its innate ability to innovate. The next few years can still be characterized by a strong push toward growth,” says the Unione Italiana Food President Marco Lavazza.

In spite of a complex international scenario, in fact, one in three Italian food companies is pointing to optimism.


Unione Italiana Food’s 2021 report confirms the global love for Italian food and all that it represents. Italian food exports have crossed the 50 billion euros threshold, and 40 billion can be attributed to the food industry. In the aftermath of two extremely difficult years, the commodity sectors represented by Unione Italiana Food recorded an overall positive performance in 2021 as well.

The sector’s total turnover increases, in fact, by 4 percent, and is now close to 45 billion euros. In confectionery, chocolate (+7.8%), and bakery products (+6.7%) are growing the most. Excellent performance for coffee (+5.6 percent), while plant-based products (+6.7 percent, with peaks for fresh-cut vegetables) and functional foods (+7 percent) show the new attention of Italians to seeking wellness in the food they bring to the table. Frozen is also growing (+5.3%).

As for export sales, the lion’s share belongs to dietary supplements (+20%), coffee (+14.3%), and vegetables such as preserves, jams, and marmalades (+9%).

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