Italian cheese exports hit new record in 2023

Exports surged to 600 thousand tons, worth 5 billion euros, with trade surplus exceeding 2.3 billion euros. Notable export feat to China signals market expansion
Italian cheese exports hit new record in 2023

The Italian dairy export landscape for 2023 paints a picture of unprecedented achievement, with a record of 600 thousand tons yielding a revenue of 5 billion euros. Spearheading this surge are fresh Italian cheese varieties, notably burrata and mascarpone, which have seen remarkable double-digit growth rates. Following closely are the esteemed PDO Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano, boasting an uptick of 6.1%, alongside a +7.1% rise in grated formats.

Insights gleaned from Assolatte, the Italian dairy industry association, underscore the resilience of aged hard cheeses, which have recorded a 7.8% expansion in overseas markets. While Gorgonzola PDO experienced a modest 1.1% increase, exports of mozzarella—a stalwart representing a quarter of total Italian dairy exports—saw a +4% ascent.

The surplus in trade balance, witnessing a remarkable 15% upsurge from the previous year, has vaulted past the 2.3 billion euros mark. Paolo Zanetti, President of Assolatte, affirms that “exports remain a pivotal driver of growth in the Italian dairy sector, serving as a cornerstone for sustaining production levels and fostering industry progression.”


Amidst global economic flux, European Union markets have offered a semblance of stability for Italian cheese exports, contrasting the turbulent terrain encountered in non-EU territories such as Canada, Japan, and South Korea. In both the UK, amid the Brexit fallout, and the United States, grappling with inflationary pressures and currency devaluation, Italian cheese exports have shown signs of tempered growth.

Yet, amidst these challenges, significant upticks have been witnessed in key European markets, including Germany (+8.9%), Spain (+7.4%), and France (+6.8%), alongside burgeoning interest from Eastern Europe. Beyond EU borders, a surge in sales to China, the United Arab Emirates, and Saudi Arabia has underscored the growing global appetite for Italian dairy products.

Zanetti highlights that “the unwavering commitment and substantial investments by our industries have catalyzed a consistent upswing in dairy sales abroad,” noting that Italian cheeses now hold commanding positions in major global markets, even in territories traditionally seen as competitors. Notably, Italian cheeses reign supreme as the top imports in France, the United States, and Switzerland.

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