03 Nov 2021

SOFT FRUIT: €541 M MARKET FOR ITALY'S FASTEST GROWING CATEGO...

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The performance of the soft fruit category (berries + strawberries) on the Italian market has been particularly positive over the last year , achieving +13.2% in terms of turnover according to the data recently presented by GfK at the conference of Italian Berry Day.

This result becomes even more valuable when compared to the performance of fruit in general (-3.1%), which was strongly negative in terms of volume sold due mainly to a drop in purchase frequency and average receipt amount.

With a turnover of € 541M, the soft fruit segment breaks through 10% of the total fruit segment, which achieved total value sales of € 5,422M.

Excluding strawberries, blueberries accounts for almost two thirds of sales.

The soft fruit category also achieved the highest result in terms of volume growth, standing on the podium of the fruit category with an astonishing +26.3% against a 5.9% drop in the fruit category. Pears (+19.8%), cherries (+15.2%), tropical fruits (+13.7%) and grapes (+11.9%) followed in the growth ranking. Apricots, plums, peaches and nectarines fell by more than 20%.

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Fruit consumption volume trends

The soft fruit category is growing both in volume and value. In fact, the quantities purchased by Italian families grew from 99 thousand tonnes to 107 thousand tonnes (+7.8%) and the average price increased from € 4.80 to € 5.04.

Breaking this growth down further, we note in particular that the number of Italian families buying soft fruit has increased (+5.1%): from 19.1 million last year to 20.1 million this year. At the same time, the quantity purchased is also increasing (more than 5.30 kg per family while last year it was 5.20 kg) and this is due to more frequent purchases, amounting to 8.4 times over the year (+6.3%). So we are dealing with a category that is growing, that is very healthy and that is growing in all its determinants: more purchasing families, more purchases, more frequency of purchase. 

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Thanks to the central role of strawberries, the penetration of the category is high: 77.2% of Italian households bought soft fruits, an increase of 4.9% compared to 73.5% in the previous year.

In geographical terms, the soft fruit market is very strong in Nielsen Area 1 (Piedmont, Lombardy, Valle d'Aosta and Liguria): in fact, compared to total fruit, soft fruits have an even higher volume and value share in the North West, which concentrates 42% of national sales. This is followed by the North East (Emilia-Romagna and Triveneto) with 22%. Northern Italy therefore accounts for almost two thirds (64%) of the national turnover. Central Italy (including Sardinia) contributes 22% of national soft fruit sales, while Southern Italy closes the ranking with 14.3% in value and 17.2% in volume.

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So in a FMCG growth scenario, with fruit struggling more as a total although very positive in the fixed weight component, berries have been one of the growth drivers of the sector with a much higher than average growth rate and positive indicators in all components of the buying process.

Data: GfK Consumer Panel (YE 07/21)

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