Pastries and bakery products in particular performed well, while thanks to the reopening of away-from-home outlets, beverages boomed, selling 4 times more in April than in 2020.
The numbers say it all: despite the shadow of change, it will be a summer of near-normality and an autumn of recovery. According to research by Quorum/Youtrend for Wonderful Italy, for example, at least half of Italians will equip themselves with Green Passes and precautions to avoid giving up their summer holidays, while by now even traditionally more conservative organisations, such as the IMF, estimate that by the end of the year the Italian economy will have rebounded by more than 5%.
How does this data translate into Food & Beverage consumption trends? This is where IRi's surveys on sales of packaged food in organised distribution in Italy, compiled for TUTTOFOOD, comes to our aid. First of all, after such a difficult year and a half, Italians feel like treating themselves well: this is confirmed by the good performance of sweet treats, which grew by 6.8% in May and 6.1% over the year as a whole, but also of festive products, which have recorded a resounding +42.5% since the beginning of the year (but considering that the corresponding period in 2020 was one of the most severe closures).
An ambivalent comparison with 2020
Further confirmation of this trend towards indulgence, but also the pleasure of eating well, comes from the numbers for bakery products - up 3% in May compared to the same month in 2020 - and fresh pasta, which also recorded increases of over 3% both in the month and since the beginning of the year. What about the trend towards healthy and natural? The organic sector appears to be stabilising, with marginal downward variations but with respectable absolute values of 136 million euro in the month and 720 million between January and May. Having left behind the double-digit increases of the past few years, when Italy was catching up with other countries, organic farming is now a stabilised but respectable reality.
With a 1.1% increase in value between January and May and many commodities settling, overall the packaged food numbers reflect the anomalous comparison with last year, when sales were in the midst of a lockdown explosion during the same period. At the opposite end is Beverage, where the comparison is between total closures in 2020 and reopenings today: in April the rebound in the wholesale channel was as much as 394% compared to the same month last year, while from January to April sales now exceed 400 million euros: numbers, hopefully, that are a good omen for the second half of the year.