Consumption in Italy continues to decline, while the discounters are gaining market share, with the food industry still reluctant to lower prices, according to the Coop Report 2023, produced by Coop Italia.
The report, which examines the consumption habits and lifestyles of Italians, found that retail food sales in July declined by 4.7%, in volume terms, while food price inflation increased by 9.6% in August.
All distribution formats recorded a 2.2% drop in sales in August, while the discount channel, which currently holds 23% of the market, grew by 0.1%.
Overall, volumes went down by 5.2% in the first half of 2023, compared to the same period in 2022.
Eight out of ten Italians said that private label is a proven way to mitigate the effects of inflation, the report found.
Commenting on the findings, Coop Italia president Maura Latini called for the branded food industry to unite, arguing that the drop in volumes is hurting both the industry and retailers, and that a united front is needed to protect Italy’s food identity.
The Coop Report also reveals that last year saw a significant decrease in margins for the food industry, as well as the distribution sector.
Some 36% of Italians intend to reduce their consumption in the coming months, while only 11% are planning to increase it. Fruit-and-vegetable consumption declined by 15.2% in the last two years – with 16% planning to reduce it even further – while 39% of Italians said that they were planning to reduce their meat consumption.
Future prospects are weighed down by the exceptional growth in inflation, the report noted.
According to 80% of the managers polled, inflation is not expected to return below 2% or to pre-pandemic levels before 2025.