In Italy organic food is widespread, so much that Italy is the largest area of organic food production in Europe and the sixth country with the most organic agricultural land in the world. It has a great slice of market over organic products and exports in Europe, rendering it a great example for those wishing to push into this market. Organic farming in Italy adheres to regulations of non-use of chemicals and use of techniques such as crop rotation, biological pest control and composting. This improves and preserves the land’s natural fertility, as well as aiding biodiversity.
Italy leads Europe toward sustainability and organic foods
Over a third of all Italian organic products are exported and include:
- Fruit and vegetables, thanks to the favorable microclimate and excellent professional skills of producers
- Extra virgin olive oil which often comes to olive trees – normally – have been grown since ancient times
- Pasta (whole-wheat, either plain or with herbs or spices)
- Cheeses, such as Parmigiano Reggiano and other regional specialties
- Wine, due to the most recently boom in organic and biodynamic wine
There are currently 50,000 producers, of which 90% are registered with FederBio (The Italian federation of organic and biodynamic agriculture) and a market sector valued at €1.7 billion.
Italians prefer to buy organic products when they want to be sure of their safeness. The organic products that Italians prefer are: milk and dairy products, followed by fruit and vegetables, supplements and dietetic food, beverages and childhood products.
In 2005 the Italian National Action Plan for organic products and agriculture was launched to enhancing consumer information, improving sustainable farming practice and supporting the development of organic production. The choice of sustainable and organic food products means investement in an unbroken chain of how livestock is raised, how crops are cultivated and goods are produced and distributed, but also pay serious attention to the impact these processes have on society and environment.
People are more and more informed and able to make educated and healthy choices: 55% of consumers choose organic food because carry for health, taste and nature; 53% want avoid chemical agents, 44% care for environment, 31% are sensible to animal welfare. This scenario are promoting new professional figure – specific for organic and sustainable food – and makes way for producers to sell their organic products on the international market.