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Italy: organic processing tomato figures

17/03/2023 - François-Xavier Branthôme
Yields, around 70 mT/ha, are only 16% lower than those of conventional tomatoes

 The webinar "Results of the factual survey on organic tomatoes for processing in 2022 in Italy" organized by the Anicav was an opportunity to review this market segment and to present figures, trends and projects related to "Made in Italy" organic processing tomatoes within the country and abroad.

Organic production in Italy in 2022
During the online meeting of March 2, 2022 (see related articles below), Carmine Alfano, Vice-president of the organic products department of the Anicav, summarized organic tomato figures for the 2022 harvest season. In the south-central basin, out of a total of 2,591,608 metric tonnes (mT) of tomatoes harvested last summer, 191,938 mT were grown organically, accounting for 7.41% of the total, up 1.18% from 2021. Meanwhile, in the northern production basin, organic tomato crops accounted for 9.22% of the total in 2022 (or 265,974 mT out of a total of 2,884,889 mT), up +0.61% from 2021.

Source: presentation "L'offerta di conserve di pomodoro biologico" - Anicav

In terms of marketing, in the supermarket retail chains, the share of organic in the total tomato products sector accounted for 4.6% in value and 3.2% in volume in 2022, but this is a decrease in sales of 2% in terms of turnover and 6% in quantity compared to 2021. 

Constant growth over the five-year period 2018-2022
In his presentation, Alessandro Squeri, President of the organic products department of the Anicav, highlighted the strong increase in the quantities of organic tomatoes grown in Italy in recent years. Specifically, an additional 182,401 tonnes of organic products were grown between 2018 and 2022 across the northern and southern Italian basins, particularly thanks to the increase in surface areas dedicated to organic farming (+66% over five years). Over the last five years, the surfaces planted with processing tomatoes in Italy increased by 4,378 hectares, of which more than half (2,606 hectares) have been dedicated to organic tomatoes alone. In fact, organic surfaces represent 10% of the cultivated total.

Less speculation in order to protect the sector
The price increase for fresh organic tomatoes, according to the analysis presented by Mr. Squeri, is in line with the increases recorded for conventional tomatoes, based on the national average calculated according to the average contract price of round tomatoes only. The field-gate price of organic tomatoes has increased by nearly 30% over the last five years, reaching EUR 158 /mT.
Source: Anicav presentation "Il pomodoro biologico trasformato nella campagna 2022”

"In the last five years, the organic tomato sector has played a leading role in the industry in terms of quantities processed and hectares cultivated," stated Alessandro Squeri. "In terms of value enhancement, organic tomatoes are the most effective way of increasing growers' income, not to mention the room for improvement provided by the evolution of farm yields. However, the difficult global economic situation, combined with attempts to speculate on the price of raw materials, may undermine the development of the organic sector. Over the past year, consumers have lost a lot of purchasing power and because of this, they tend to spend less or choose cheaper products. And among 'red gold' products, those made with organic tomatoes are certainly the most sensitive to this market situation. To protect the organic sector, it is necessary to value it at the different levels of the industry, and do away with speculation."
Source: Anicav presentation "Il pomodoro biologico trasformato nella campagna 2022”

A promotional project with an international scope
"Made in Italy" organic tomato products are highly sought-after abroad: 75% of the organic tomato products produced in Italy are destined for foreign markets and represent 9.6% of total tomato exports. To further develop this segment, which has significant potential abroad, the Anicav has launched a three-year project (2023-2025) called "Enjoy It's From Europe" to promote abroad the production of Italian organic tomato products, particularly in Germany, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands. The project includes communication on social networks and food apps, advertising (TV, press, social networks, in-store), participation in trade shows, press and business tours, point-of-sale promotions, and is aimed at consumers themselves, as well as opinion leaders, retailers and the Horeca sector. 

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Organic tomatoes in Italy: what prospects after remarkable growth?

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