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Commodity Innovation Series – Snapshot of Opportunities in Italy's Lentil Sector

Market trends

Italy is the fourth-largest consumer of lentils in the European Union (EU)

  • Lentils are growing in popularity due to the global health awareness trend and the pulse's increasingly renowned health benefits.
  • This pulse already has a traditional place in the Italian diet, and because of its high protein, it is expected to grow in prevision of the higher domestic presence of vegetarians
  • The organic lentils sector is the largest category in organic pulses.
  • The Italian market is segmented into North and South, where the North was subject to industrialisation, and the South remains local-driven.
  • Although domestic production has dramatically decreased since 1961 (-83%), it has been rising back since 2001.
  • Consumers are turning away from shelf stable pulses, as the homecooking trend is making a comeback among Italian households.

Lentil trade

Historic and forecast retail sales

Italy depended on imports to meet 63% of lentil consumption demand (63,800 tons) in 2016
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  • Imports: 63%
  • Domestic supply: 37%
56% of lentil market supply is consumed by households in Italy in 2016
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  • Household consumption: 56%
  • Feed or ingredient for processed food: 44%

74% of sales of "other pulses" in Italy were in retail stores

"Other pulses" are expected to see a 2.29% period growth in volume sales from 2017-2021.

Lentils used as an ingredient

Major companies launched 34.9% of italy's lentil products.

Top companies launching the most value-added products and their top brands in Italy
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Company Number of products launched Top Brand
Princess Confetti e Cioccolato 24 Princess
Auchan 19 Auchan
MAIA 16 Organic Legumes
Pedon 15 Pedona Dalla Buona Terra
Unilever 11 Knorr Segreti della Nonna
Agria 10 Select

Companies are expected to put greater emphasis on the health benefits in lentil consumption

Top growing claims

  1. Organic
  2. Ethical – environmentally friendly package
  3. Microwaveable
  4. No Additives/Preservatives

Top declining claims

  1. High protein
  2. Social media
  3. Easy of use

Packaged lentil options are rising in demand

Top package type

  1. Tub
  2. Tray
  3. Flexible
  4. Jar
  5. Can

Top packaged materials

  1. Plastic Unspecified
  2. Plastic Polypropylene (PP)
  3. Plastic Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
  4. Glass plain
  5. Metal steel

Over 83% of product launches were new products, varieties, and ranges.

Top innovative markets for lentils in europe
Innovation Criteria United Kingdom Germany France Spain Sweden Czech Republic Italy Ireland Netherlands Poland
Relaunch Fair Low Fair Low Low Low Low Low Low Low
New Product Very good Excellent Very good Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent Excellent
Product Line Diversity Very good Good Good Good Low Low Low Low Low Low
Health and Wellness Claims Very good Very good Very good Very good Very good Fair Fair Fair Fair Low
Product Innovation Rating Scale: Excellent (17-20), Very good (13-16), Good (9-12), Fair (5-8), Low (0-4)

Factors of consideration

Recommendation for entry

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