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Organic food consumption trending in Italy

Organic food consumption trending in Italy

The main driving factors behind the rapid growth organic food consumption in Italy have been product expansion, increasing demand for premium and high-priced products, as well as changing consumer habits towards food. Consumers in Italy have started focusing more on healthy food, prioritizing quality over quantity, and preferring to buy less but more premium and natural food. Italians consider organic food products to be sustainable and environmentally friendly. According to AnaBio the association that represents farmers of organic products in Italy, consumers are willing to pay 15% more for an organic product than for its standard counterpart. More people in Italy are switching to vegetarianism or at least reducing their meat consumption. European Vegetarian Union reported that Italy has over six million vegetarians and the highest rate of vegetarianism in the EU, at 10% of the population. So, the consumer is prepared to spend more money on organic fruit and vegetables. This trend is less visible in packaged food, but it is growing quickly from a low base.

The highest growth in organic packaged food over 2010-2016 was noticed in organic pasta, a category that has a special position in Italian cuisine.  Other categories that experienced strong growth were organic rice, organic honey and organic cheese. Another reason behind the growing demand for organic products is that consumers want to get closer to producers, and since it is believed that organic products are more natural sales have increased especially for food which is produced in Italy and labelled as ‘Made in Italy’. In fact, two out of three Italians would consume organic food if it is labelled as ‘Made in Italy’. According to Coldiretti, the National Association for Italian farmers had established a setting which is the criteria of the product origin should be high when a customer buys biological food product. organic food is confirmed as an important part of the Italian agri-food, with a turnover of more than €3 billion and exponentially growing consumption. During the financial crisis in the Europe and Italy consumers started supporting domestic companies, especially small manufacturers and independent retailers by doing so they were supporting the local economy in that way. Italian consumers started to increasingly visit street stalls in order to buy fresh products, such as vegetables, fruit, meat and fish. Many cities in Italy now organize ‘Mercato Del Contadino’ markets where fresh food is sold directly by the producer to the consumer. Outlook for the organic food market is positive in Italy. The forecast for the organic food market in Italy seems very optimistic. As open food markets are becoming more popular, the packaged food industry is expected to respond quickly with more packaged organic food becoming available in modern grocery retailers. Trusting organic products for their offspring more and with the perception and reality of becoming healthier. Italy is flourishing its organic sector in a large scale and the consumers demanding organic food products is rapidly increasing and the future seems promising.

Shahil Shanavas

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