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ITALIAN CONFECTIONARY, GREAT QUALITY AT THE RIGHT PRICE
The Italian confectionary sector is one of those that are strongly inclined towards export. Its export-oriented character has become more pronounced in the last few years, shown by one fact in particular: the proportion of exports compared to total production has increased from 25.4% in 1999 to 37% in 2008 in terms of volume, and from 14.8% to 20.5% in terms of value. A special case is that of chocolate (and cocoa-based products), which is the leading division for export volumes, surpassing the average level of the entire confectionary sector by over 30 percentage points. It has seen an increase in export volume from 36.7% in 1999 to 69.2% in 2008, while export value rose from 15.7% to 28.9%.
According to the latest available figures produced by the research department of AIDI (the Italian Confectioners’ Association), a prevailing share of exported production goes to countries of the European Union: 73.9% of volume and 70% of value in 2008. But the Italian confectionary industry reaches all continents and the increase in interest from markets in Asia over the last few years has been particularly significant.
The first place among importers of Italian products is held by France, with a volume and value quota of just under 20% (109,052 tons, with a value of 370.2 million Euros), followed in order by Germany, Great Britain, Spain, Belgium/Luxemburg and the USA.
But what is the reason for the appeal of Italian confectionary products in foreign markets? According to Mario Piccialuti, director of AIDI, “one of the keys to the success of our products abroad is the capacity of the operators to transmit the ancient Italian confectionary tradition through outstanding production. Just think of the numerous traditional Italian products,” adds Piccialuti: “panettone, pandoro, amaretti and nougat, just to name a few, or even our ice cream and chocolates. These are products that are unique on the international food scene and whose recipes, taste and high quality are appreciated all over the world, as our foreign trade figures show.”
But as well as carefully promoting its wealth of tradition, the Italian confectionary industry has another strong point: it operates according to a logic of continuous innovation, with producers careful to present new recipes in keeping with the latest consumption targets and trends. In recent years consumers have begun to show more reflective attitudes in their food purchasing choices, focusing on quality products at reasonable prices. “The confectionary industry has responded to this reflective tendency,” Piccialuti continues, “by providing a wide range of products. Over the last few years there has been an increase in consumption of gourmand products, so we therefore focus on the satisfaction and pleasure of taste. There has also been a similar growth in the categories of the so-called health and fitness trend, with the introduction of functional and natural products to satisfy demands for a balanced diet".