Italy consolidates its leadership among food exporters

Italy is the largest exporter of food in the world, and in 2014, it grew faster than the world’s average: +3.24% against +1.96%. In other words, we are the best in the total, but there is (almost) always someone who does better in individual products.

This indication comes from a study conducted by Bureau van Dijk through the Trade Catalyst platform, according to which Italy often comes second in many of the most representative Made in Italy products in the world.

Cheese, for example. A few days ago, Assolatte remarked that Italy is a leading country in Europe in terms of cheese with protected designation of origin: our PDO cheeses are 51, and France follows suit with 47, while Germany does not even qualify, since it has such a small amount.

Yet, when it comes to selling dairy products to the four corners of the earth, Berlin has largely outperformed us: last year the cheese it exported cashed $5.1 billion, ours only $2.8 billion; its share of the global market is 15.7%, while ours is only 8.7%.

Concerning wine, France basks on the global throne: its wineries earned overseas $10 billion in revenues, while ours gained $6.7 billion. However, some data make us optimistic: last year, our wines sold abroad posted a 1.4% increase, theirs declined by 1.24%.

We have grown a lot in pastries, +5% last year, with over one third of the export made of bakery products. But chocolate, as we all know, is an important part of the segment and therefore in the global market, not only Italy is beaten by Germany (which exports $8.6 billion a year, against our $3.7 billion), but also by Belgium, which earns $5.2 billion abroad and holds 9% of the market.

Apart from cheese and pastries, Germany performs better than we do also in the cold cuts segment. German sausage makers are the largest exporters in the world, even ahead of the US, and every year they raise $2.3 billion abroad; we only cash $1.6 billion. The Made in Italy products, however, have shown greater vivacity: last year, the Italian export of the sector increased by around 7%, while the German one only grew by 2%.

As for olive oil, the Spanish overtaking is known since the early 2000s. And the terrible year 2014 for Italian olive trees – from Xylella to the killer flies – has only accentuated a consolidated gap. Last year, the Spanish producers sold oil abroad for $3.8 billion: they posted a rise in exports of over 38% and now firmly have in their hands more than half of the world market in the sector.

Hence, we rank first in the total of the basket, but we always find someone who defeats us in individual products. Almost always, as we said, and the exception is the symbol of Made in Italy products, which is above them all: pasta. We sell $2.3 billion of it abroad and have 50% of the global market. Who is the second exporter? It is Turkey, with $466 million.