Italian Food & Beverage is a 64 billion euro business with delivery that marked a + 56%, between food and drinks, in 2020. This is what emerged from the “Roadmap of the future for Food & Beverage” report presented during the fifth edition of the “Forum Food 2021” of The European House – Ambrosetti, concluded the 5th of June in Bormio (Lombard Region). Two days full of comparisons and meetings between leading exponents of the Italian agri-food sector, to which are added those of sportsmen, nutritionists and economic experts. The agri-food sector is confirmed as a vital sector for Italy, capable of generating over 64 billion euros of added value: three times the automotive sector in France and Spain and more than double that of aerospace in France, Germany and the United Kingdom. A sector that has been able to withstand the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic better than anyone else, reporting in the difficult 2020 a decline that is all in all contained in value added (-1.8%).
The research revealed strategic indicators on the future of the agri-food sector, as well as a sentiment that bodes well for the future. First of all, the study showed that Covid, in 2020, “did not make itself felt negatively on the turnover of seven out of ten companies, which proved to have registered an increase in their turnover, while more than half showed optimism. declaring his confidence in the possibility of growing also in 2021”.
The data then highlighted how the situation at the channel level has profoundly changed: if the large-scale retail trade registered a rise of 2.2%, the Horeca, on the contrary, suffered a heavy contraction equal to 36.5%, returning to 2002 levels. The revived vitality of the proximity shops, which saw their market share increase to 18.9%, should also be noted. On the e-commerce front, last year the sales on the web of the Food & grocery sector accounted for only 1.7% of the total purchases, but with a growth of 56%. Thanks to the closures of out-of-home merchants, Food delivery – which has now reached 100% in Municipalities with at least 50,000 inhabitants – has generated a value of 706 million euros, with the aim of achieving yet another leap forward and record a turnover of 1 billion euros.
Looking at exports, the general picture of cross-border sales recorded a record value of 46.1 billion euros, an increase of 1.8% compared to 2019. Furthermore, for the first time in the last ten years, the balance commercial Italian sales showed a positive balance of 3.1 billion euros. However, the Report has once again drawn attention to the gap that Italy discounts as exports to other European countries. It is also significant that a strategic market like the Chinese one is not yet among the top ten recipients of Italian agri-food products; contrary to what happens for other countries where the Country of the Dragon is one of the main landing places on an international level. The Report also examined the Brexit issue, which is weighed down by uncertainties and fears. With a share of 12% of the total, the United Kingdom is one of the priority markets for the export of Italian food products. However, the first data are worrying: in January and February 2021, exports were down by 15% compared to the same period in 2020.