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AT WINTER FANCY FOOD 2009 THE QUALITY OF ITALIAN AGRICULTURE AND FOOD
Italian enogastronomy will feature, alongside other things, at the 2009 edition of the Winter Fancy Food Show taking place from the 18th to the 20th of January 2009 at San Francisco and dedicated as usual to the exhibition of all food products. Now in its 34th year, this highly professional international show will welcome around 16 thousand participants: importers, catering schools and consultants, food specialists, distributors, producers, brokers, restaurants, operators in private and hotel catering and professionals in the trade press.
Italians are taking part for a good reason: to continue conquering niches on the promising American market and draw the attention of exhibitors and visitors from the USA and neighbouring areas (North America in particular). Italian attendance will be coordinated by ICE, the Italian Institute for Foreign Trade, and promises to be the most important official foreign exhibitor at Winter Fancy Food in terms of both size and number of participants. The Italian exhibition area will see around a hundred exhibitors among regions, export consortiums and foreign centres of the Chambers of Commerce. All the very best products of Italian wine and gastronomy will be on display.
The United States are the fifth outlet market for the export of Italian foods. The latest research by Federalimentare (the trade association) indicates Italian sales in the States during the first half of 2008 stood at 1,057.8 million Euros, accounting for 11.2% of the total. One of the points American consumers put foremost is food safety. Italy has worked hard on this front to protect end consumers: in November 2008, a seminar took place during the Vinitaly US Tour 2008 called “Italian Wine Quality Control System”, bringing together 30 Italian wine producers and more than 400 American operators in the field. Officials from the TTB (The Alcohol and tobacco tax and trade bureau of the US Department of the Treasury) who attended the seminar were said to be positively impressed by the seriousness and efficiency the Italians put to the defence of the consumer and, in particular, by their computer tracking of food which is unequalled worldwide.
Overall, exports made by the Italian food industry totalled 9,411.5 million Euros in the first semester of 2008 (+13.9%), registering a less marked yet significant increase in quantity (+3.7%). The currency exchange has also helped increase the value of exports, although the excellent competitiveness of Italian agriculture and food is principally down to quantity; Gian Domenico Auricchio, the President of Federalimentare said, “Our food industry has proven very responsive to the decline of the domestic market and to the pressure of broadscale distribution. It has realized that the only opportunity for expansion is the foreign market, far more profitable than the market in Italy.”