Where do Italian food products go in the world?

Food is certainly one of the most important Italian assets, on which Italian export can rely: between 2004 and 2014, the value of food exports increased by 83.8%, twice as much as the Italian total (+ 46.1%). Thanks to the strong growth in exports, too, the agri-food sector grew by 4.6% in 2015, with a significantly higher rate in comparison with the Italian economy, which last year recorded its first positive value (GDP +0,8%), after three negative years. This trend is confirmed for 2016, too, as evidenced by the growth concerning consignments carried out by DHL Global Forwarding in this domain, which increased by more than 20%.

Every year, 1.2 billion people all over the world buy an Italian agri-food product. 750 million of them are loyal consumers. But where do Made in Italy food products go in the world? How is their quality guaranteed, despite long transport journeys? Who assures that a dairy product tasted in China maintains its organoleptic and taste properties, in order to protect the high quality of Made in Italy agri-food?


Europe remains the first market for Italian exports (Germany and France in the lead). The United States, instead, is the first non-European market, where exports grew by + 18% last year, reaching a 12% share. The Russian market is fundamental, despite the decrease (-6%) caused by sanctions and embargoes on European foods. However, compared with the previous years, the emerging Countries and the most dynamic economies, especially in Asia and Eastern Europe, are producing the highest growth rates concerning exports of Made in Italy products. In particular: Taiwan, with + 25% of incoming Italian food products, followed by South Korea (+ 20.2%), Israel (+ 15%), Croatia (+ 14.6%), Singapore. Finally, China, whose appreciation for Made in Italy food recorded + 9.9% again.


80% of Italian exports are represented by prestigious industrial brands and protected designation products (PDO, PGI productions). DHL Global Forwarding, as a freight forwarder especially specialised in the transport of food, has found special routes for Made in Italy foods, which arrive in the most diverse places in the world. Some examples:

- Peaches of Cesena: every year 30,000 tons of pit fruits, namely peaches and cherries, are exported to the Arab Emirates. This year, just from the province of Cesena, DHL carried by air more than 30 tonnes of peaches during the Ramadan period;

- Ice cream produced in Turin: ‘Frozen’ ice cream goes to Hong Kong, too. Just in June 2016, DHL shipped there over 10 tonnes of this product (throughout 2015, 20 tonnes of it had been sent from Italy);

- Chestnuts: over 150 tonnes of chestnuts of Cuneo (about 15% of the whole Italian production) travel to the USA and Canada: the autumn fruit par excellence is much sought-after in New York;

- Apples: More than 500 containers (10,000 tonnes) of Trentino apples fly to the United Arab Emirates and Senegal;

- Orange juices: from Sicily 2,000 tons of frozen citrus juice go to Japan, USA, Australia, China;

- Mozzarella and butter: these products travel from Campania to China, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates. For the moment, we are talking about 1,000 tonnes, but the market is growing thanks to the new refrigerated solutions.

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