Parmigiano Reggiano sales rise 8.2% compared to the pre-pandemic period

Parmigiano Reggiano has ended the year with positive results in terms of both sales and prices. In 2021, consumer turnover hit an all-time high of 2.7 billion euros compared to 2.35 billion in 2020. Over the last year, the value at production was also the highest on record, at 1.71 billion euros compared to 1.52 billion in 2020.

With an overall increase of 3.9% compared to the previous year, 2021 was also a record year for production, reaching 4.09 million wheels of cheese, equivalent to around 163,000 tonnes. These figures follow the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano’s increasing focus on foreign markets which offer excellent development opportunities for a constantly growing, but planned, production. Overall, production has risen by 10.6% over the last four years, from 3.7 million wheels of cheese to 4.09 million wheels.

Parmigiano Reggiano also enjoyed a stable position in terms of market price, with an annual average of 10.34 €/kilo for 12-month Parmigiano Reggiano from a dairy producer, with price fluctuations between 10.25 €/kg and 10.40 €/kg. In comparison, the average price for the same product in 2020 was 8.57 €/kg and 10.76 €/kg before the onset of the pandemic in 2019.

Over the last year, Parmigiano Reggiano’s distribution of consumption showed an increasingly international tendency, with the cheese being enjoyed globally.

Italy, which accounts for 55% of the market, recorded a 4.5% increase in consumption compared to pre-pandemic levels, consuming 89,101 tons in 2021 compared to 85,258 in 2019. The figure is slightly down (-1.3%) from 2020, which observed a boom in domestic consumption of Parmigiano Reggiano sparked by the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown.

Large retail remains the main distribution channel (51%), followed by direct sales from dairies (which recorded a sharp increase), and by the general food industry (14%), including products featuring Parmigiano Reggiano amongst the ingredients. The HORECA industry remained in last position, but accounted for 7% compared to 2% in 2020, therefore presenting an enormous potential for growth and development. The remaining 8% is distributed among other sales channels.

Parmigiano Reggiano’s export share observed a 2.9% volume growth to 45%, with the United States as the first market, accounting for 21% of total exports. France (19%) and Germany (17%) followed in second and third place, respectively, with the United Kingdom (11%) and Canada (5%) in fourth and fifth.

In these main markets, the best sales performances were recorded in the United States (up 10.4%), France (up 4.5%), and Canada (up 5.5%). Most other European markets also recorded growth, with Switzerland (up 14.7%) and Sweden (up 13.2%) of particular note. The same cannot be said for Germany (down 1.9%) and the United Kingdom (down 15.6%), which lost ground despite significant growth in 2020, the latter being particularly affected by ongoing issues caused by the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union.

Nicola Bertinelli, president of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, commented, “Despite the pandemic, our sector has managed to increase consumption and achieve price stability at production over the last year. As we emerge from this phase following the WHO’s announcement that the improved situation in Europe could be heralding the end of the pandemic, we will need to address Covid-19’s consequences on the market. Among these is the risk of excessive supply due to an increase in production driven by prices and demand.

The Consortium’s new marketing and production plans, agreed upon in December 2021, will be integral tools in addressing these potential challenges, setting Parmigiano Reggiano on track for a long-term strong growth trajectory.”

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