Italian food districts are worth more than €12B exports

Sales increased by +15% in the first half of 2022 according to data from Intesa Sanpaolo report. Pasta and confectionery districts made the biggest contribution to growth

According to the latest report on the performance of Italian food districts, edited by the Intesa Sanpaolo Research and Studies Department, after the excellent results of 2021 exports continued to grow in the first half of 2022. Rising energy prices and geopolitical tensions do not seem to have had negative effects on sales. 

Overall, 51 monitored districts 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 in the same period in 2019. The trend mirrors that of Italian food exports as a whole: after the record reached in 2021 (over 50 billion euros), sales in the first half of 2022 grew further by +18.9%. 

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The result is partly affected by rising inflation. In fact, the index of 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, with peaks of +22% for oils and fats. For beverages, the increase was smaller (+3.9%, and +4.1% for wines).


The pasta and confectionery districts contributed the most to growth in the first half of 2022, exceeding 1.9 billion in value exports (+23.4%), partly due to price increases in many agricultural commodities (starting with wheat). 

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


Also distinguished by contribution to growth were the wine districts, which surpassed 3.2 billion euros in exports in current values or 361 million more than in the first half of 2021 (+12.6 percent). The most important district in terms of exported values, with more than 1 billion in the first six months of 2022, is the Wines of Langhe, Roero, and Monferrato, which grew by +5.7 percent compared to the same half of 2021. Sales of Wines from the Verona area (+11.6 percent) and Wines from the Florentine and Sienese hills (+15.8 percent) were also up. However, the best performance came from Prosecco di Conegliano-Valdobbiadene (+32.6%).


The agricultural district supply chain grew by +4.3% overall in the first half of 2022. The largest contribution came from the Bari area Fruit and Vegetable district, which grew from 126 million in the first half of 2021 to 262 million in the same period of 2022.


Widespread growth for canning districts. Preserves of Nocera grew by +18.9%. For Trentino-Alto Adige Jams and Juices, sales were up +30.1 percent, and +32.1 percent for the Neapolitan Food’s canned sections, with Parma Food up +25.8 percent. 


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%). Export sales for Reggio Emilia’s Salumi boomed (+49.9%).


Uneven performance for the dairy districts. The first in terms of export values is Southeast Lombardy Dairy. After the excellent result of 2021 (+15.4%) it closed the first half of 2022 with a further growth of +22.9%. Similar dynamics were recorded for Mozzarella di Bufala Campana (+27.1%) and Dairy Products of Parma (+16.1%), while sales of Dairy Products of Reggio Emilia (-3%) and Dairy Products of Sardinia (-5.5%) declined.


Strong acceleration for the olive oil supply chain (+33.9%), mainly due to high price increases in foreign markets for oils and fats production (+22%). The Olio Toscano district closed the first half of 2022 with export sales up +32.3%. Results were very positive also for Umbrian Oil (+35.9%) and the Bari Oil and Pasta district (+43.4%).


The two rice districts are growing in unison. Vercelli Rice recorded +23.5 percent growth, and the dynamic was similar for Pavia Rice (+39.7 percent).


In the coffee supply chain, all districts confirmed the positive trend of 2021: export sales grew for the Coffee, Confectionery, and Chocolate of Turin district (+22.2 percent), the Coffee district of Trieste (+28.3 percent), and the Coffee and Confectionery district of Naples (+17.2 percent).


Exports of Italian agri-food districts are growing to all major destination markets. Goods flows also increased in 2022 to Germany, the first outlet market (+7.4 percent), the United States (+14.7 percent), and France (+16.7 percent). Sales to the British market also resumed growth (+15.8%), as did exports to emerging economies, which have now reached a 20 percent share of the total.

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