Global Opportunities

Food market Italy: growing special segments bio & organic

The demand in the special food segments, such as organic- and bio products, functional food, integrators as well as high-quality and certified origin products is booming in Italy. Growth rates are particularly strong in the north and centre of the country.

Woman shopping in the vegetable sector

Hotspot Italy

Italy is traditionally a hotspot for Food & Beverage either for its own production and export, or for its domestic market and the sophisticated consumers. Over the last years, new supermarkets for slow-food and organic-food (e.g. EATALY, BioCBon, etc.) have been coming up and confirmed the trend, that quality and sustainability allow a significant price-elasticity. Special segments such as organic- and bio-products, functional food, food integrators, but also the high-end quality segment as a general represent an enormous market. Several reference fairs and formats of the sector are underlining the relevance of the food-hotspot Italy, not only for the Italian production: TUTTOFOOD, HOST, CIBUS, SANA, Global Food Innovation Summit.

New “organic” habits

Recent years saw a considerable change in purchasing habits of Italian families. Especially the need for more sustainable, quality and traceable products contributed to increase the household expenditures for food (17.7% vs 12.2% EU). 

Swiss Made

In the quality and high-end niche, “Swiss Made” products have an excellent reputation and Swiss bio and organic products enjoy increasingly presence on Italian shelves. Once only chocolate and cheese were synonyms of Swiss excellence, whereas nowadays the quality and sustainability of Swissness is a strong sales argument in the special food segment.

The domestic market

The Italian organic food retail market consists of over 1,200 specialised stores as well as a growing presence in the large-scale retail trade. Organic food sales in the large-scale retail channel in Italy are worth €1.56 Billions, up 4.5% compared to one year ago, according to data from Nielsen and AssoBio, the national association of organic food processing and distribution companies.
Sales in supermarkets grew 15.8% and in hypermarkets by 11.7%, while the number of organic references has increased by 18%. An estimated 6.5 million Italian families regularly buy organic products (at least once a week), while 21.8 million do so occasionally.

Opportunities for Swiss Companies: Next Steps

Swiss Business Hub Italy can support you gradually in conquering a new market:

1. Learn about the local market
- accompanied Fact Finding visits (ie. Sana.it trade fair)
- straightforward market analysis (competitors, distribution channels, conditions, market test, i.e. in running F&B operation, Scuderia Future Food, Bologna)

2. Certifications / registrations
- National food product registration is done through our experts. Equivalence arrangements in terms of Bio-Certification, etc. facilitate the administrative work. 

3.  Find a reliable local partner
- identify who is able to commercialize your product (commercial agents, importers, distributors, etc.). Please mind that Italy is utmost fragmented.

4.  Sales support
- the introduction of the product can be supported with marketing & communication activities (events, product placements ie. Scuderia Future Food, Bologna)

The Swiss Business Hub in Italy through its own competence, the local network and the institutional contacts may support your project with a broad range of services at every stage of your export planning. Get in touch with Beat Kuster, Consultant Southern Europe, for more information.  Contact now!

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