12 Feb 2024

Expenditure by Italian households on blueberries grows to over 122 million Euro in 2023


In 2023, Italian households' expenditure on blueberries increased by 22.9% compared to the previous year, according to updated data from Italian Berry GfK as of 31/12/2023.

Blueberries leading the category

The overall market value has consequently grown from 99.7 to 122.5 million Euros. Blueberries continue to be the category leaders, representing over 60% of Italian households' expenditure on berries.

This rapid growth has been ongoing for several years now. The Italian blueberry market, which was 67.5 million Euros in 2020, has indeed doubled in the last three years.

Penetration exceeding 25%

The consumption increase was driven by a significant rise in penetration, i.e., the number of Italian families purchasing blueberries at least once in 2023. This share has increased from 21.3% in 2022 to 25.4% in 2023. Now, one in four families has included blueberries in their shopping carts over the last 12 months, resulting in over 6.5 million purchasing families, compared to 4.3 million just three years ago (+51%).

The strong inflationary push

An important factor explaining the 2023 growth in blueberry expenditure is the increase in the average price, rising from 11.38 to 13.39 Euros/kg in twelve months. 2023 witnessed a global increase in average prices due to atmospheric phenomena affecting major global production areas, pushing prices well beyond the average inflation of the Istat basket, which was 5.7% in 2023. However, in Italy, this trend continues consistently and over the last three years has resulted in a 33% inflationary push on the average price of blueberries, which was only 10.72 Euros three years ago.

Volumes are also increasing

Despite the price increase, volume has also grown in 2023, surpassing 9 thousand annual tons (approximately 176 tons per day), with a +4.4% compared to the previous twelve months. Blueberries now represent 64% of the volume sales in the small fruit category. In 2023, volume consumption shifted towards blueberries, representing 59% of family purchases just 12 months earlier.

Purchasing families feel the price increase

Rising prices have resulted in a deterioration of some indicators of family purchasing behavior. Purchases by buying families have decreased (-12.6% in volume), as well as purchase frequency (-7.1%) and quantities purchased per buying act (-6.0%). Annual expenditure has simultaneously increased under the inflationary push, rising from 18.32 to 18.83 Euros (+2.8%), as well as spending per purchase occasion (+10.6%).

Consumer profile

The levels of blueberry consumption penetration in Italian families are primarily determined by geographical factors. While penetration in the Northwest is over 60% higher than the national average, it progressively decreases moving south, reaching a minimum in southern regions and Sicily, where penetration is less than half of the Italian average.

Socioeconomic class has a strong positive correlation with penetration: families with better conditions have the best penetration compared to the average.

Regarding volume purchases per family, the main correlated factors are geographical location, family size, and the age of the purchasing decision-maker. Families in the Northwest, single-member families, and those with a purchasing decision-maker over 65 years old have recorded purchases above the Italian average.

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