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Production, consumption, export: the Italian agri-food sector continues to grow

According to the data of the Ismea Report on the first quarter of 2021/Attachment

According to the Ismea Agrimercati Report for the first quarter of 2021, the production of the food industry grows on a trend basis with a + 1.8% of the index calculated by Istat. The increase in production rates took place above all in March, with a tendential increase of 8.5%, taking into account however the comparison with the month in which the pandemic exploded in conjunction with a reduction in production also for the food.

After the anomalous 2020, also in 2021 there was a further growth in domestic purchases for many sectors. Spending on food products, in fact, after the + 7.4% achieved in 2020, against the persistence of limitations for containing the spread of the virus, remains at high levels also in the first quarter of 2021, recording an increase by 2.9% on the first quarter of 2020. Food expenditure is above 11.7% compared to the same period of 2019, considered the pre-pandemic reference year.

From the analysis of the data relating to the first quarter of 2021, a picture characterized by new trends emerges, opposite to those recorded in the first quarter of 2020, at the beginning of the pandemic. For the first time, in fact, the increase in sales of fresh bulk products is higher than that of packaged products, + 3.7%, against + 2.5%. However, packaged food products represent the largest part of spending (68%) and in 2020 they recorded growth four times higher than the level of 2019, with an increase in sales in value of 8%. Another element to highlight is the double-digit growth in beverage purchases: + 13% against + 1.7% for foodstuffs. At the beginning of the pandemic, the beverage segment was "neglected" in favor of other products useful for guaranteeing stocks in the pantry. Driving the increase in spending in this first quarter of 2021 is above all the desire for "evasion", in fact, aperitifs, wines and sparkling wines are the products in which the consumer is interested (respectively + 25% and + 21% expense).

Exports also improve: thanks to the momentum in March, + 10.6%, after -4.7 in January and 0.4% in February, means that the first quarter of 2021 stands at 2.2% above the level of the same period last year, when Italy had not yet been completely overwhelmed by the global socio-health emergency. The trend towards recovery of shipments abroad is then further strengthened also in April which recorded an increase in value of 22.3% on an annual basis.

Even the import figure, after the decline in 2020 and the first two months of 2021, recorded an increase of almost 12% on an annual basis in March. Given the transformative vocation of the national agri-food industry, the recovery of imports is also prodromal of further growth in deliveries abroad in the coming months, reflecting the slowdown of the restrictions in place in many of Italy's commercial partners, on the in the wake of the successful vaccination campaign.

The complete report is attached.

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EFA News - European Food Agency