Italian food and wine market in UK continues to grow despite Brexit

Italian food and wine market in UK continues to grow despite Brexit
The marketing of non-Italian products as Italian is harming the sector, a study says. Photo: Depositphotos/Maximkabb
Sales of Italian delicacies and wines in the UK are up, despite a slowdown due to “Brexit effects.”

Global sales of Italian food and wines are set to break the €40 billion mark, if growth continues to mirror the first eight months of 2018.

Sales are up 9.1 per cent vis-a-vis 2017 for the sector, with Italian farmers’ federation Coldiretti predicting it could be a record-breaking year.

While average growth across the EU – mainly France and Germany – was 8.6 per cent, sales of Italian delicacies and wines in the UK showed “signs of Brexit effects” and growth was slower at 1.3 per cent.

A selection of imported Italian pasta on supermarket shelves. Photo: Depositphotos

Prosecco hit a first hangover after ten years of uninterrupted growth. For the first time in a decade, the number of bottles of Venetian sparkly exported to the UK dropped, according to Coldiretti.

2018 is set to be a record year for Italian food and drink exports, but Coldiretti nevertheless lamented that the Italian food and beverage sector could be worth €100 billion if brands, labels and geographical indicators weren’t copied in other markets. 

Piracy of the ‘Made in Italy’ brand costs the sector €60 billion each year, according to another study by Coldiretti.

Coldiretti and Italian lobbies say that two out of three food products advertising themselves as Italian outside of Italy actually have nothing to do with Italy. 

Cheese makers seem to be the most guilty. Parmiagiano Reggiano and Grana Padano (parmesans), Gorgonzola, Pecorino, Provolone, Asiago and Fontina are some of the most copied types.

Coldiretti says foreign companies exploit Italy’s profile “with misappropriated images, colours, words, locations and recipes that recall Italy” – even if the product is usually not from Italy.