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Italy’s charcuterie is pandemic-proof

According to elaborations by the Italian meat and cold cuts industry association, Assica, on Istat data, in 2020 exports of Italian charcuterie involved 170,137 tons of products for a total turnover of 1,626.7 million euros, recording a drop in volume (-7.2%), but value growth (+2.5%).

Exports moved at a faster pace than both the Italian food industry as a whole (up +1%) and overall Italian food exports (down -9.8%). Exports to EU and non-EU countries fell considerably. In the last quarter of the year, however, thanks to the recovery of US demand exports to non-EU countries increased both in volume and value.

Exports to the ‘post-Brexit EU’ dropped by -12.1% in volume (for a total of 41,889 tons) and by -0.4% in value (76 million euros). Adding the United Kingdom, export figures would have been slightly better (down -11.3% in volume and -0.1% in value). Exports to non-EU countries reached 18,865 tons (down -7.8%) for a value of 259.4 million euros (down -1.8%).


Within the EU-27, all of Italy’s main trading partners reported a drop in demand in volume, due to measures taken to counter the pandemic spread. Exports to Germany, the main destination market for Italy’s charcuterie, dropped slightly in volume (down -1.4%, equal to 33,840 tons) but grew in value (up +6%, 349.6 million euros). On the German market mortadella and frankfurters performed well, as well as salami and cooked hams, while cured bacon sales declined in volume but grew in value. Sales of cured raw hams and bresaola dropped.

The year 2020 was difficult for exports to non-EU countries, whose imports of Italian deli meats (51,843 tons for a value of 544.6 million euros) dropped by -5.8% in volume, rising by +3.7% in value. On the British market, good news came from imports of cured bacon and salami, with increases in both volume and value. Cured raw hams and cooked hams volume sales dropped, however, growing in value due to rising prices.


Last year was also characterized by declining exports sales in the United States. Although the significant decrease recorded in the second and third quarters of the year was largely offset by sales in the first and, especially, in the fourth quarter, exports to the USA in 2020 dropped both in volume and value: -4.5% (equal to 10,453 tons) and -2% (123.2 million euros) respectively. In the US market, however, sales of Italian mortadella and frankfurters grew double-digit, bacon and salami performed well while matured raw hams and, even worse, cooked hams demand dropped.


Good news from exports of Italian charcuterie to Canada. In 2020 sales grew by +28.7% in volume and +38.2% in value, thanks to the excellent performance of cured bacon and salami.

Shipments to Japan were negative, closing the year with a -26.9% drop in volume and a -17.9% in value. With the exception of salami, whose sales increased slightly in volume and even more in value, sales of all the main products of Italian charcuterie dropped.

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