Italian cheese exports set a new record in 2019, growing 6.3% in volume and 11.2% in value, according to data by Assolatte, the Italian dairy association.
After a slowdown in 2018 (+0.7% in volume and +5.3% in value), companies from the sector focused their efforts on promotion and searching for new markets.
This strategy has paid off, according to Assolatte, with foreign sales surpassing €3 billion and 450,000 tonnes.
Although most exports were directed towards Europe (+9.4%) and North America, countries in Asia showed the most interesting results.
Italian companies exported 30,000 tonnes of cheese to Asia for a value of €200 million. In 2019, there was a significant increase of exports to Indonesia, albeit the quantities are still limited, and to South Korea.
Excellent results were achieved in China (+5.9%) and Japan (+12.8%), with the later confirming its place as the third largest non-EU destination for Italian cheeses.
An important result was also achieved in the United States after a collapse of exports in 2018 (+19.2% in volume and +25.0% in value).
After a negative first quarter, Canada also showed a significant recovery, closing 2019 slightly down (-1.5%) on the previous year.
Commenting on the results, Assolatte president Giuseppe Ambrosi said: "With the US tariffs and Brexit, Asian markets were acquiring an increasingly strategic role. Unfortunately, the spread of COVID-19 has not only compromised this strategy, but today we are faced with an extraordinary situation that is still unpredictable."
He added that to date, the virus has had "significant repercussions" on international trade, and risk frustrating the investment made in foreign markets in recent years to strengthen the 'Made In Italy' positioning.
© 2020 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine