Italian pasta imports to the UK dropped by 28% after Brexit, while imports of extra virgin olive oil and Italian tomato sauce saw a 13% and 16% decline, respectively, according to a new study by the Italian farmers' association Coldiretti.
The findings are based on ISTAT data for the first five months of 2021.
Brexit also affected the imports of Italian wines and sparkling wines (-7%) and cheese (-9%), with overall Italian food and drink imports declining 5%.
The main challenges for those who export to the UK, according to Coldiretti, are related to customs procedures and increased transport costs due to delays and increased controls.
These difficulties put at risk the €3.4 billion of annual Italian agri-food exports to the UK, it said. The UK ranks as Italy's fourth biggest trade partner for food and drinks after Germany, France and the United States.
Wine is the most sold Italian agri-food product in the UK, followed by tomato derivatives, pasta, cheese, cured meats and olive oil.
Counterfeit And Imitation
The new relationship between the UK and the EU also risks favouring the arrival of non-EU food and drinks that do not comply with EU safety standards, as well as counterfeit and imitation Italian food products, from Parmigiano to Chianti, the group added.
Coldiretti warns that the risk is serious, as demonstrated by the EU's past disputes with the UK, regarding the cases of the sale of fake Prosecco on tap or in cans, and kits for producing fake Barolo and Valpolicella or even Parmigiano Reggiano at home.
The association goes as far as to claim that the UK "could become the Trojan horse for the arrival of fake Italian products, which have a turnover of €100 billion worldwide and whose major counterfeiters include the USA, Canada and Australia."
Elsewhere, wine sales in the Italian off-trade channel (large scale retail) grew by 7% in value in 2020 compared to the previous year.
© 2021 European Supermarket Magazine. Article by Branislav Pekic. For more Supply Chain news, click here. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.