Italian products with a Protected Designation of Origin, Protected Geographical Indication or Guaranteed Traditional Specialty certification reached an overall value of €16.6 billion in 2020, according to a report from the Institute of Services for the Agricultural and Food Market (Ismea).
These PDOs, PGIs and GTSs represent 19 percent of the total value of Italian agri-food production. The three European Union certifications are given to high-quality food or drink produced using traditional methods in a specific region.
According to Ismea, these products made up 20 percent of Italian food exports in 2020, valued at €9.5 billion. Production of the 841 Italian PDOs, PGIs or GTSs employs more than 200,000 people. There are also 286 associations dedicated to promoting and supporting these high-quality regional products.See Also:Italian Olive Sector Must Focus on Quality for Future Success, Report Finds
Ismea said the PDO and PGI market shrank by two percent in 2020, compared to the previous year. The institute attributed the decrease to restrictions put in place during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“These results have been possible thanks to the commitment of the whole sector, with actions of solidarity, support to the operators and new agreements with the different market subjects,” the Ismea analysts wrote.
“They are also due to a constant dialogue with the institutions that have moved to protect a strategic sector through specific measures, guaranteeing PDO and PGI product chains and the economy of the Italian territories,” they added.
According to the report, the Italian olive oil sector is among those hit the hardest by the challenging weather and the market conditions.
The data show that the 49 Italian extra virgin olive oils with E.U. protected status employ more than 23,000 people and generate a total value of €71 million, which represented one percent of the PDO, PGI and GTS Italian market in 2020. This figure represents a 14-percent drop compared with the previous year.
According to Ismea, a large portion of the production drop came from the Terra di Bari PDO in Puglia. Producers in the Terra di Bari PDO region have faced several challenges, such as bad weather and the continued spread of Xylella fastidiosa.
Due to those conditions, Terra di Bari PDO came after Toscano PGI in terms of market value in 2020 and before Sicilia PGI, Val di Mazara PDO and Riviera Ligure PDO.
Ismea also noted how the PDOs and PGI extra virgin olive oils still represent only a marginal value on the overall olive oil production.
However, the value of PGIs is growing. Exports in 2020 topped €52 million, with 38 percent of PGI production exported. Tuscany, Sicily and Puglia account for 70 percent of the overall value of the E.U.-protected extra virgin olive oils.
Last year, a separate Ismea report said overall Italian food and beverages exports reached €52 billion, an 11-percent increase compared with 2020.
This brought the total value well over the €43.6 billion reported in 2020, and the €48 billion reported the year before.
In 2021, Italian agri-food imports grew by 12 percent compared with 2020 and reached €48 billion.