According to the Bio Bank 2020 report, the Italian bio market in the last ten years has grown by + 118%. Reaching a turnover of 6.9 billion euros in 2020. The total of sales is divided into three large portions: exports are worth 2.6 billion, sales in supermarkets 2 billion and all other channels (bio shops, other shops, e-commerce, direct sales) 2.3 billion. EUR.
The interest on the part of consumers is evident, Italians are putting more and more “health” in the shopping cart. In fact, in 2020 54% of consumers changed their eating habits, started to eat and cook more at home and pay more attention to a healthier and more careful diet, rich in vitamins, vegetables and fruit. The purchasing process of these products in large food areas has also changed, where 58% of Italians pay greater attention to the prices and origin of the products, preferring, when possible, local ones. The 22% of consumers declare that they have increased their budget for this type of expenditure.
Consequently, the penetration index of bio products in the food cart of Italians is growing: in 2020 88 families out of 100 bought bio brand products at least once, in 2019 it was 86, while in 2015 it was 69. Bio consumption, therefore, no longer represents a niche choice, it has become an increasingly widespread purchase choice among consumers, contributing to the spread of bio products also in large-scale distribution. The reasons for this increased interest are mainly attributable to a health and environmental “turning point” that is taking place in household food consumption. A sensitivity destined to grow, as emerges from a research by Wunderman Thompson Commerce carried out among the Alpha generation in which the issues of the environment and sustainability are considered the main guiding values in purchases. In fact, according to the Bio Bank 2020report, the reasons for the new purchasing behaviors are mainly linked to the belief that:
1. the bio is healthy and good for you (51% of the interviewees declared it):
2. offers greater guarantees in terms of safety and quality (47% of the interviewees);
3. does not pollute (26% of the interviewees).
The references that the “bio users” prefer to buy in the bio version are fresh products. First of all chicken eggs, but also jams and other preparations based on fruit and vegetables. Thanks to the lockdown, there was an increase in all the ingredients necessary for the homemade production of pasta, bread or pizza (bio flours + 92%, pizza base + 63%).
On the supply side, therefore, the areas dedicated to these crops have increased, according to the Bio in Cifre 2020 report, in Italy, alongside the growth of bio farms – which grew by 34.5% in 10 years, over 80 thousand in 2019 – there is also an increase in the areas destined for bio cultivation which in our country amount to almost 2 million hectares (+ 33.5% in 10 years), equal to 15.8% of the entire cultivated area, among the most high of Europe. The bio market in Italy is therefore still growing, also affecting employment levels. The bio growth trend starts from the early 90s and, as the following graph shows, it never stopped, suffering only a slight decline in the early ‘00.
Figure 1 Bio in Cifre 2020. Ismea
The state of the Italian bio sector has been healthy and growing for some years now, there is ample space to allow agricultural businesses and processing industries to be competitive and increase their turnover, following what can now be defined as a consolidated purchasing model of Italian consumers, increasingly sensitive and interested in the quality and characteristics of the foods they bring to the table, convinced that health also passes through food.
Bio Bank Report 2020, Bio bank.
Bio in Cifre 2020, Ismea.
Repubblica article “Benvenuti nel decennio del cibo bio, salutare e sostenibile”.
Report “Il mercato italiano del bio “, Assobio.