Italian Organic Foodservice Market & Consumption Trends

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People no longer eat to satiate their hunger. They eat to meet their body’s key nutritional requirements. With consumers becoming increasingly health-conscious, organic foods are all the rage these days and are fast gaining a lion’s share in the Italian foodservice market.

Organic Food Items in Restaurants

Healthier food items entering both regional and global markets with full force have started a new food consumption trend. Emerging restaurant concepts as well as established restaurant brands are fast adapting to this development by introducing a wide variety of organic and functional food options on their menus. From organic salads and pastas to a variety of meats, cheeses and wine – consumers can order just about anything that is free from bioengineered genes or genetically modified organisms (GMO), toxic pesticides, fertilizers, harmful antibiotics and growth hormones.

The Italian Organic Food Business

In Europe, the health food market shows an annual turnover of € 5.7 billion, with Italy contributing around € 1.4 billion to the total economic value. These figures are quite outstanding, given the market share owned by competing fast food chains and quick casual dining restaurant brands that do not follow organic farming practices.

Not only reputed Italian foodservice companies but also Italian multinational corporations are showing great interest in organic agriculture. There are several Italian fairs, such as the one held in Bologna every September, that feature fresh organic produce and food items with local brand labels. While most organic farms are located in southern Italy, the northern part of the country handles processing and exports. Sicilia, Emilia Romagna, Sardegna, Puglia and Calabria are the largest contributors to Italy’s overall organic food production and processing. Top quality Italian organic fruits and vegetables, extra virgin olive oil, wine, pasta and rare varieties of organic cheese including Parmigiano Reggiano are exprted to almost every part of Europe as well as to the USA and Japan.


Demand for Organic Foods in Italy

The total annual value of Italian organic food purchase is estimated at € 301 millions! Milk and dairy products, vegetables and fruits, diet food and dietary supplements, beverages, biscuit and cookies, yoghurt, frozen food and gelato, pasta and rice, tomato ketchup as well as baby food products are the most popular organic food items that Italian consumers buy. The good news about this growing demand for organic foods is that once consumers start buying them, they want to buy them on a regular basis.

The decision to switch from non-organic to organic food items is reinforced by the nutritional benefits that these products offer. Customers obviously do not mind paying a premium price for such healthy foods that are 100% natural, genuine, healthy and therefore safe to consume. 

From Supermarkets and Specialized Shops to Swish Restaurants

Opting for organic foods is as much an emerging trend as it is a status symbol. Supermarkets are crammed with food items labelled ‘organic’. There are several specialized shops in Italy that stock and sell only organic food items, out of which some of them are already developing an interesting Franchise system.

Owing to changing consumer demands, the overall performance of the organic food and drinks industry in terms of market penetration and innovation is also growing at a steady pace. This consumption trend is here to stay and if performance indicators are anything to go by, the future of Italian organic foodservice market looks extremely bright!

Are you planning to invest in an organic foodservice concept and are looking for shop concept design, branding and franchise development services, talk to us at DESITA.



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