Parmigiano Reggiano records growth in GCC markets

2019 was a record year for Parmigiano Reggiano PDO production, which saw a total increase of 1.47% over the previous year. Figures released by Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium reveal that 3.75 million wheels of cheese (about 150 thousand tons) were produced in 2019 and it represents the highest peak in the age-old history of Parmigiano Reggiano. A turnover of 2.6 billion euro was recorded for the protected designation of origin (PDO) product, which is increasingly expanding abroad, an outlet for a constantly growing production that needs new market spaces.

In the last three years, production rose from 3.47 million to 3.75 million wheels, which is a 8.1% increase.

A big push into the new markets of GCC has generated a 2.9% growth. The Consortium has invested in increasing consumer awareness of the nutritious value and versatility of the cheese and how to identify real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese from generic Parmesan.

Parmigiano Reggiano is also enjoying a very good period as far as prices are concerned. While in 2016 the cost per kg was 8.60 euro, in 2019 the average price stood at 10.75 euro, a 25% increase (average price of 12-month Parmigiano Reggiano from producing dairy, source: bulletins from Borsa Comprensoriale Parma)

2019 has been a year with two opposing realities. In fact, beginning from the month of October – during President Trump’s imposition of tariffs – prices suffered an abrupt decline below 10 euro while milk and consequently cheese production registered a growth.

The Parmigiano Reggiano market is becoming ever more international.

Today, Italy accounts for a little less than 60% of the total market, while the export share is 41% (+4.3% over the previous year). France is the first market (21% of overall export), followed by the USA (20.9%), Germany (17.8%), the United Kingdom (12.3%) and Canada (3.9%).

While France (+2.2%) and the United Kingdom (+2.7%) hold steady, Germany (+6.7%) is growing, after the reduction recorded in 2018, so are Switzerland (+16.3%) and the United States (+12.9%), the latter resulting from concerns over tariffs. New markets such as Australia (+21.3%), China (+36.4%) and Arab Countries (+2.9%) are also growing. On the other hand, Canada (-26.5%) is slowing down due to the CETA agreements.

Regarding the early months of 2020, the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium has already recorded an increase in sales volumes, especially in the large-retail points of sale, where growth touched peeks of 20-30%.

Conversely, the price trend is not so rosy, considering that the wholesale price (average price of 12-month Parmigiano Reggiano from producing dairy) at present has settled around 8 euro per kg versus 10.75 euro of 2019.

The Consortium is also monitoring the impact of Covid19 on the Parmigiano Reggiano market. A recent study published by the Centro Study (Research Centre of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium) reveals that 53% of the respondents are very happy with the total orders received in the first months of 2020, especially from the Italian market. There is less enthusiasm regarding the orders from the European Union and worries for North America and Canada. The Consortium member dairies foresee an overall decline in orders in the coming months, particularly in the medium and small retailers and the Horeca channel.

“The crisis we are facing due to the pandemic – said Nicola Bertinelli, President of the Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium – has not disrupted the activities of the Consortium. We immediately geared up to continue our quality controls to safeguard and protect consumers. We also continue our control activities on the markets with special focus on protection at the international level. After the successes of New Zealand and China in 2019, we defeated the giant Campbell, which is now forced to remove references to PDO from its products’ labels”.

Our work goes on, Bertinelli added. We revised the 2020 marketing plan in light of all the limitations we are experiencing due to the lockdown and in consideration of the coming phases of this slow return to normal. We will also need measures to contain production that is growing too much”.

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