In Italy, the organic market seeks to revive

While consumption of organic products has fallen by 8% between 2021 and 2022, the Italian market is seeking to reorganize its offer to boost purchases.

The grass isn’t always greener next door. In any case, this is what Italian organic professionals observed, meeting on January 11, 2023. Like its French neighbor, Italy recorded a drop in its consumption of organic products at the end of the health crisis.

Less recoil than conventional

“Until the end of 2021, consumption of organic products in Italy was strong, estimates Paul Brunipresident of CSO Italy, a cooperative that brings together several leading Italian companies in the production of fruit and vegetables. Between 2020 and 2021, we have observed a slight drop of two points in the consumption of organic fruit and vegetables, compared to 8 to 10 points in the conventional sector. The organic was doing well. ”

But today things have changed. “The economic crisis affecting Europe is being felt in the consumption of organic products”, he continues. Although the organic market is still doing better than the conventional market, its consumption nevertheless fell by 8 points in 2022 (compared to -14 points for conventional).

The question of price and supply

However, the signals sent by Europe, through the strategy Farm to Fork, push to convert more surfaces. Professionals are sounding the alarm on the remuneration of producers. “Organic costs were higher than conventional, with lower yields. Before the health crisis, we tackled the issue of packaging on organic products, alert Vincenzo Finelli general manager of Orogel Fresco, a cooperative of fresh organic fruits and vegetables. It is necessary to have high selling prices. We will have to boost the presence of organic products on the shelves and differentiate the price range to meet the purchasing power of consumers. “

“In our reference stores, in Milan or Bologna, conventional apples have at least nine different references on the shelves, compared to two or even three references in organic farming, adds Paolo Bruni. We must succeed with the organization of the distribution to expand organic ranges.”

Competition and promotion

Italian organic products also aim for export. “Western Europe has great potential for us,” says Sandra Sangiuloexport and marketing manager at Canned Italia. The Scandinavian countries are very receptive to organic, while the British consumer continues to lack confidence in organic certification. The French market is a good entry point with receptive consumers, but the “zero pesticide residue” line has developed and is hampering the organic market.”

To answer consumer questions and stimulate consumption, the European Union and CSO Italy have launched the Made in nature project. With a budget of 2,200,000 euros, it is to promote the cultivation of organic fruit and vegetables in Germany, Denmark, Italy and France.

In Italy, the organic market seeks to revive