Cheese industry in Italy - statistics & facts

With a value of 20 billion euros and over 3,000 enterprises, the Italian dairy industry is one of the biggest in the European Union. Apart from the production of milk, making cheese from cow milk is the biggest sector in terms of volume. Since 2014, the production capacity of cow cheese has gradually increased in Italy. Most of the production volume is made up by hard cheese, as Italy is the birthplace of Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano, both commercialized with the PDO quality label (Protected Designation of Origin), which indicates their specific origin and production's characteristics.

Only in the first ten months of 2019, over 81 thousand tons of the two cheese types were exported worldwide. Their popularity is also acknowledged among Italian consumers, with over 40 percent indicating Parmigiano Reggiano as their favorite cheese in 2020. Grana Padano followed in the ranking with slightly less than 40 percent.

As far as the import of cheese into Italy is concerned, Germany is an important trade partner of fresh and Emmentaler cheese, while Belgium and the Netherlands export more processed and full-fat cheese products, respectively. Additionally, most of the hard cheese imported by Italy comes from Eastern Europe, with the Czech Republic outpacing Poland and Hungary in terms of volume.

The Italian population consumes nearly 1.5 billion tons of cheese every year, while the retail sales revenues of cheese products amount to close over six billion euros. In large scale retail, fresh cheese was the segment generating the highest revenues. Projections until 2022 depicted a gradual growth of retail sales value for different types of cheese, although the CAGR rate of Italian cheese products is reported to be significantly lower than the one of other EU markets.

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Cheese industry in Italy

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