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Federvini General Assembly: export boom in two decades

Assemblea generale Federvini

Italy second world player for wine (+188%), fifth for spirits (+300%). Vinegars also did well (+180%). Internationalization, protection of productions and promotion of Mediterranean style: Italian challenges and values in a changing world.

How do we protect domestic wine, spirits and vinegar supply chains in a complex global context and on the eve of the upcoming European elections and the race for the White House? And how to defend and promote the culture of moderation, a centennial value of the Mediterranean diet?

These are the issues at the heart of theFedervini General Assembly, the Italian Federation of Producers, Exporters and Importers of Wines, Spirits, Liqueurs, Syrups, Vinegars and Related, held today in Rome in the presence of numerous institutions and the gotha of Italian entrepreneurs of an industry worth 21.5 billion euros in sales, 2,300 enterprises, over 81,000 employees and about 20 percent of Italian Food & Beverage exports.

We are going through a year full of news and changes, first and foremost the now imminent European elections and, in the fall, the U.S. presidential election. Meanwhile,geopolitical, trade and economic tensions risk impacting the activities of key supply chains for Italian agribusiness. Much is being done by our companies to keep their production capacity strong, I am thinking for example of investments in internationalization, research and for sustainability. There is no doubt, however, that to face the dimension of international challenges there is a need for certain rules capable of ensuring clear and free competition in the markets, which do not give in to neo-prohibitionist tendencies and which overcome the retaliatory logic of duties that in the recent past have unfairly penalized us.” said the president of Federvini Micaela Pallini.

Geopolitical challenges

At the center of the debate, then, are the implications of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, the outlook for the conflict in the Middle East, and fears of new trade tariffs applied in retaliation. A critical scenario for supply chains, such as those represented by Federvini, that see exports as their main lever for growth and value creation.

Therefore, the achievement of Free trade agreements with new partners, on the back of the positive experience of the CETA defined with Canada (for Italian wines growth rate of +7.6% in 2018-2022 compared to +3.7% in 2013-2017, while the sector of aperitifs, bitters, liqueurs and spirits made in Italy jumps to +13.1 percent from +2.9 percent in the previous period), remains a key prospect for sustaining free trade and quality productions such as those in which Italy is a recognized leader.

This prospect translates into an appeal by the Federvini system to the current Italian presidency of the G7 to be the interpreter of the need to prevent trade disputes originating in other sectors from affecting agri-food production.

What new Europe?

From Ireland’s and more recently Belgium’s initiatives on health warnings, to the revision of the packaging directive to labeling legislation and the Geographical Indications Regulation, numerous issues have affected Federvini’s sectors during the five-year legislative period that has just ended. Obviously impactful dossiers that sometimes failed to take into account the value not only economic but also social and cultural value expressed by wine, spirits and vinegar enterprises and productions.

Federvini’s hope is that the new European Parliament that will emerge from the polls will demonstrate a realistic approach guided by consideration of objective elements with a view to a Balanced promotion of production components, starting with employment and the economy of the territories, attentions that have characterized the closing parliamentary term of many Italian representatives.

“The new set-up of EU institutions that will be defined after the June round will be a determining factor in the direction of policies affecting our sectors, from labeling to the protection of typical products to competitiveness,” added President Pallini. “In this sense, we hope that the next European legislature will be able to keep the bar as straight as those Italian MEPs to whom we owe so much for their commitment and achievements over these five not easy years. The hope is that the new legislature, too, will be able to count on women and men capable of listening to and engaging with the productive categories, endowed with a rational vision that respects the specificities and value expressed by supply chains that are strategic not only for the national economy, and ready to build bridges and alliances among the different nationalities and political families that make up the Strasbourg hemicycle.”

Export, a key dimension for structural growth

According to data from theFedervini Observatory, in collaboration with Nomisma and TradeLab,Italian wine exports over the past 20 years have experienced significant growth, rising from a market share of 17 percent in 2003 (with France at 38 percent) to 22 percent in 2023 (the transalpines, on the other hand, are flexing at 33 percent). A result that allows Italy to consolidate, thanks to the overall +188% in export value, its second place in the world and takes on an even more extraordinary character if we think of the increase in markets in which Italy expresses a leadership position: 46 versus France’s 51 (twenty years ago there were 9 versus 41).

Positive evidence is also emerging on the spirits front: in the last 20 years, according to Nomisma, exports have increased 300 percent to a value of 1.7 billion euros (today Italy is the fifth top global exporter). The positive trend in cross-border sales is confirmed for the vinegar sector (+180% in value over the past twenty years). In general, even in view of a structural decline in domestic consumption, exports assume a strategic character, accounting for 50 percent of sales for wines, 35 percent for spirits and 48 percent for vinegars.

Sociality and consumption habits of Italians

According to data provided by TradeLab, the vast majority of Italians see “going out” as an opportunity for conviviality and sociability. Eighty percent choose to drink mainly during social occasions accompanying food distributed throughout the week, with 27 percent claiming to always consume the same type of drink and 40 percent making their choice based on the particular drinking occasion.

Ninety-five percent of the sample surveyed consume alcoholic beverages in company, a habit that confirms the factor of sociability as a decisive element in consumption choices.

A trend that sees the evening aperitivo as a distinctly growing phenomenon with 14 million Italians arranging it on occasions away from home for a total turnover of 4.5 billion euros.

A heritage to be promoted: responsible consumption

In today’s turbulent context, the protection of the interests of the businesses of the three industries for which Federvini is the spokesperson also necessarily passes through support for the principles and values of responsible and moderate consumption that precisely in the style of the Mediterranean diet find their best expression.

A unique wealth in the world of which Italy can make itself an ambassador in the world with renewed impetus, benefiting also the European dimension as a whole, highlighting its own virtuous model that will have to be promoted internationally. Important in this regard will be the UN Political Declaration on Noncommunicable Diseases scheduled for next year in New York.

Federvini is the Italian umbrella organization of leading producers and importers of wines, spirits, brandies and vinegars, founded in 1917 and a member of Federalimentare and Confindustria. The aims of the Federation are to represent the interests of the sector in national and international forums and to promote the values that the sector expresses in the quality of production, sustainability, relations with territories, the culture of sociality and conviviality, and education for conscious consumption.


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