Italian agri-food districts are worth €12.5 b exports

In the first half of 2022, pasta and sweets contributed the most to growth. Wine districts are booming too

After the excellent results achieved in 2021, exports of Italian agri-food districts continued to grow in the first half of 2022. Rising energy prices and geopolitical tensions do not seem to have affected export sales of Italian food&beverage products, which are increasingly appreciated abroad as synonymous with quality and food safety.

Overall, the 51 districts monitored by the Intesa Sanpaolo bank’s Agribusiness Department totaled nearly 12.5 billion in exports in the first half of 2022, which is 15 percent more than in 2021 and 32.1 percent more than the same period in 2019. This evolution reflects that of Italian food exports as a whole, which, after the record sales achieved in 2021 (more than 50 billion euros), grew further in the first half of 2022 (+18.9%).

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The result is partly affected by inflation: in fact, prices charged on foreign markets by the Italian food industry grew by +10.8% in the first half of 2022 (compared to the same period in 2021).


The pasta and sweets districts contributed the most to the growth of export sales in the first half of 2022, exceeding 1.9 billion euros in value (+23.4 percent compared to 2021).

Among the districts in this supply chain, the pasta sector of Food of Parma stands out with 119 million euros more than in the first half of 2021 (+27%). Double-digit growth was also recorded for Alba and Cuneo Sweets (+12.7 percent), Verona’s Sweets and Pasta (+16.3 percent), Pasta from Fara (+36.5 percent), and the pasta divisions of Naples’ Food (+47.4 percent), Avellino’s Food (+23.4 percent), and Oil and Pasta from Bari’ (+40.6 percent).


Wine districts stand out for their contribution to export growth, which exceeded 3.2 billion euros or 361 million more than in the first half of 2021 (+12.6 percent).

The most important district in terms of export values, with more than 1 billion in the first six months of 2022, is the Wines of Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato, whose sales grew by +5.7 percent. An excellent performance was also performed by the Wines of Verona (+11.6 percent) and the Wines of the Florentine and Sienese Hills (+15.8 percent), however, the best performance came from Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene sparkling wine (+32.6 percent).


The agricultural district supply chain grew by +4.3 percent overall. The largest contribution came from the Bari’s Fruit and Vegetable District, rising from 126 million in the first half of 2021 to 262 million in the same period of 2022. Romagna’s Fruit and Vegetables, Trentino’s Apples, Piedmont’s Hazelnuts, and Fruits, and Foggia’s Fruit and Vegetables and Preserves agricultural sectors suffered a downfall.


Export of the canning districts increased throughout Italy. Sales of Nocera’s Preserves increased by +18.9%, Trentino-Alto Adige’s Jams and Juices by +30.1%, Naples’ Food’s canned compartments by +32.1%, and Parma’s Food by +25.8%. The only exception was the Foggia Fruit and Vegetable and Preserves compartment, whose sales dropped by -6.4%.


As for the meat and cured meat districts, strong growth for Modena’s Salumi (+22.8%) was contrasted by a decline for Verona’s Meats (-12.1%). Foreign sales boom for Reggio Emilia’s Salumi (+49.9%).


Italian dairy districts also experienced mixed performance during the period under review. The top district in terms of export values is the Dairy District of Southeastern Lombardy. After an excellent result in 2021 (+15.4 percent), it closed the first half of 2022 with a growth of +22.9 percent. Similar dynamics were seen for Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (+27.1 percent) and Dairy of Parma (+16.1 percent), while export sales of Dairy of Reggio Emilia (-3 percent) and Dairy of Sardinia (-5.5 percent) declined.


The olive oil supply chain achieved excellent results (+33.9%), but mainly due to high price increases in foreign markets for oil and fat production (+22%). The Olio Toscano district closed the first half of 2022 with export sales up +32.3%. Olio Umbro (+35.9%) and Bari’s Oil and Pasta district (+43.4%) also performed very well.


As for the two rice districts, Vercelli Rice had sales up by +23.5 percent, and Pavia Rice by +39.7 percent.


In the coffee supply chain, all districts confirmed the positive trend of 2021. In fact, this applies to the Coffee, Confectionery, and Chocolate district of Turin (+22.2 percent), to the Coffee district of Trieste (+28.3 percent), and to the Coffee and Confectionery district of Naples (+17.2 percent).


The Polesine and Venetian Seafood District (+19.1 percent growth; +8.4 percent compared to the first half of 2019) also recovered its pre-pandemic export sales levels.


Exports of Italian agri-food districts are growing to all major destination markets. Exports to Germany, the first outlet market (+7.4 percent in the first half of 2022), the United States (+14.7 percent), and France (+16.7 percent) are growing. Sales to the British market have also resumed growth (+15.8 percent), and the same can be said for emerging countries’ economies. As a whole, the latter has reached a share of 20 percent of the Italian agri-food districts’ total exports.

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