Food and Beverage Made in Italy. The new trends in the post Covid – 19. 82% of Italians choose Made in Italy

63% of Italians now prefer an healthy diet, with an increase of over 30% compared to the world average; Over 20% buy local and artisan food products more frequently than before the lockdown to support the local economy; One in four products purchased in supermarkets has a reference to its national origin on the label, with a total turnover of over 7.1 billion euros.

Rome, June 16, 2021, the Rome Business School Research Center has published an analysis on the new trends in food and beverage in Italy following the health emergency from Covid-19, highlighting the strong growth towards healthy eating: 62 out of 100 Italians have changed their consumption habits in this sense. The study is curated by Prof. Valerio Mancini, (Director of the Rome Business School Research Center) with the collaboration of Anthony Conrad, student of the Specialized online Master in Agribusiness.

The new eating habits following Covid-19

Research indicates that the epidemiological emergency has substantially changed the food consumption of Italians, who rediscovered the Mediterranean diet. Today 20% of Italians buy healthy foods and beverages more often than before the lockdown; 63% say that maintaining an healthy lifestyle has become more important and 38% eat fresh fruit and vegetables more frequently than before the lockdown. In the basket of “healthy” spending in Italy (30% higher compared to the world average), innovation was particularly strong for products presented as natural (16.3% of innovations against 15.0% worldwide), medical (14.4% versus 8.7%) and vegetable (12.0% versus 8.0% overall). 28% of Italians then buy local and artisan food products more frequently than before the lockdown, while 25% of premium consumers say they are willing to pay more for authentic products. 43% of Italians, the analysis reveals, cook at home more frequently than before the lockdown. This opens up new opportunities for brands to rethink out-of-home food experiences at home.

The growth of the Made in Italy food

According to the study, the real element that made the difference in the eating habits of Italians was the search by consumers for the 100% Italian product: 82% of Italians with the crisis generated by the pandemic want to bring Made in Italy products on the table, to support as well economy and local work. In particular, the supply chains of PDO and PGI products in the agri-food and wine sectors with 16.9 billion euros of production value distributed between small production companies and large districts generate wealth on the national territory. Compared to this, based on the data collected, we assist to a positive trend for 17 out of 20 regions in Italy. The most important growths are in Lombardy, with an increase of over 200 million euros in a single year, and in Emilia-Romagna, with more than 100 million growth. Piedmont and Campania also did well, with an annual increase of 90 and 82 million euros respectively. In relative terms, there are a total of 7 regions with double-digit percentage growth rates of the economic impact of the PDO PGI supply chains in just one year, with positive signals from the regions of Southern Italy.

In the PDO PGI wine sector, Veneto is confirmed as the undisputed leader with 53 certified wines that generate a total production value of 3.5 billion of euros (ex factory value of bottled wine) for a contribution of 38% on the overall value of the sector. Tuscany and Piedmont are the other two Italian regions that have more than 50 certified productions, capable of generating a production turnover close to one billion euros. Of the top five regions by value, three are in the North-East: in addition to Veneto, Friuli-Venezia Giulia and Trentino-Alto Adige in fourth and fifth position. This is followed by Sicily, the first region of Southern Italy for economic value of PDO PGI wine.

Therefore, an evolution that goes beyond the large supply chains is confirmed, thanks to the affirmation of agri-food economy poles in numerous areas of Italy, with territorial systems of widespread quality around PDO PGI products.

“The emergency from COVID-19 – Mancini argues – has once again highlighted the strategic importance of the food sector and the related supply chains; the issue of the origin of the food product and of the raw material used in the manufacturing process fits into this context, to which the global consumer pays particular attention “moreover” Precisely in a period of emergency like the one we are experiencing, operators are called to correctly apply the rules that provide for the correct origin of the label, avoiding incurring penalties and relative loss of market shares”.

Finally, respeting the future trends, strongly influenced by the effects of Covid, the analysis underlines that the strong aging of the Italian population and the growing share of overweight people (in Italy one lives on average 2.7 years less due to overweight and the per capita expenditure to cope with obesity is 289 euros of additional taxes per year) will determine a ditet linked to the health needs of the elderly population and the attitude towards safer and healthier foods.

“This implies the centrality of the recent scientific discoveries (or potential ones) in this direction, such as those to produce tailor-made products (novel food), light products (light) and with therapeutic functions” explains Mancini.

The consumption of those products that contribute to proper nutrition and have a minor impact on the ecosystem represent an excellent investment: on average, for each euro invested is expected an economic return of up to 6 euro.