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Sector Trend Analysis – Fish and seafood in Italy

August 2018

Executive summary

Italy is the sixth-largest market for fish and seafood imports in the world, and the third-largest among European Union countries, just behind Spain and France. Italy imported US$6.6 billion worth of fish and seafood products in 2017. Spain, the Netherlands, and Denmark were Italy's top three suppliers of fish and seafood, and the top imported products were prepared or preserved tuna, skipjack or bonito. .

Canada was the forty-first largest supplier of fish and seafood products to Italy in 2017, with a value of US$21.6 million (based on Italy's import data). Italy's imports of fish and seafood from Canada increased at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% from 2013 to 2017.

In 2017, Italy's top three imports of fish and seafood from Canada were live, fresh or chilled lobster (US$7.7 million, 409 tonnes); frozen lobster (US$6.7 million, 383 tonnes); and frozen Pacific salmon (US$3.8 million, 450 tonnes).

The fish and seafood market is set to grow steadily over the forecast period in terms of total volume and retail volume. This will be driven by consumers' love of fish and seafood as well as demand for a protein source that also has a range of health benefits. Fish and seafood consumption will also increase as average incomes in Italy have increased.

Consumer attitudes

According to Santander Trade Portal, Italian consumers are demanding quality products, but are less concerned with operating hours, frequent special offers, loyalty programs or credit offers. They tend to base their purchases on the quality of the item and the after-sales service they will receive. Italians prefer packaging with clearly conveyed information. When given the choice, Italians prefer products "made in Italy." Environmental criteria are less influential on decision-making. Novelty is welcome, especially in the fashion sector. Although the economy is starting to rebound, consumers remain cautious, partly due to persistent concerns about the country's banking sector. The aging population (Italy is projected to have a median age of almost 50 years by 2030) is driving an increasing demand for specialized products and services.

Based on a recent survey by Statista in 2015, it was found that only 71% of Italian consumers were now more interested in innovation.

Consumption trends

After seven years of economic crisis, the Italian economy is recovering and consumer spending and confidence are being rebuilt gradually. However, consumers are more interested in purchasing big items, such as cars and houses, and are spending less on food and clothing.

Italian consumers, especially those belonging to younger generations, are turning to Internet retailers. Italian consumers have developed greater environmental awareness over the past few years, which has also affected their spending habits. Consumers are showing great interest in eco-friendly and organic food products, and they are seeking these attributes in the fresh fish and seafood sector as well.

As a result of the recession, Italian consumers have shortened their eating time and have been seeking more affordable options. Therefore, fast food outlets have become increasingly popular due to their convenience and favourable prices.

In 2017, sales of fish and seafood increased by 4% in terms of total volume to 513,000 tonnes. The average unit price in retail rose in 2017 due to increasing demand for fresh fish. Fish recorded the strongest performance, posting a 4% increase in total volume sales in 2017. Over the forecast period, the fish and seafood market is set to post a total volume compound annual growth rate increase of 1%.

Historical per capita consumption (total volume) from 2013 to 2017, in kilograms (kg)
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
Fish and seafood 8.6 8.5 8.3 8.2 8.5
Crustaceans 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5 0.5
Fish 6.4 6.3 6.1 6.0 6.3
Molluscs and cephalopods 1.7 1.7 1.6 1.6 1.7

Source: Euromonitor International 2018

Per capita consumption of fish and seafood (total volume) in Italy remained very steady between 8.2 kg and 8.6 kg from 2013 to 2017. Per capita consumption of fish remained steady between 6.0 kg and 6.4 kg from 2013 to 2017.

Historical per capita expenditure (retail value) from 2013 to 2017, in US$
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
Fish and seafood 108.3 108.6 105.8 102.5 108.5 0.0
Crustaceans 10.7 10.7 10.7 10.5 10.0 −1.7
Fish 83.0 83.3 81.1 79.4 85.2 0.7
Molluscs and cephalopods 14.6 14.6 14.0 12.6 13.2 −2.5

Source: Euromonitor International 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

From 2013 to 2017, based on retail value, per capita expenditures on fish and seafood in Italy remained steady, ranging from US$102.5 to US$108.5.

By the numbers

Italy is the sixth-largest market for fish and seafood imports in the world, and the third-largest among European Union (EU) countries, behind Spain and France. Italy imported US$6.6 billion worth of fish and seafood products in 2017.

Italy has become a major player in the fish farming and bivalves (mussels and clams) markets. However, the Italian aquaculture sector is facing challenges due to strong competition from other countries, such as Greece, Turkey and Malta. Additionally, concerns over marine sustainability have led to the EU Common Fisheries Policy setting fishery catch limits for the most significant commercial fish stocks. These limits are shared among the EU members, with allowances for each country determined by historical catch rates (The Common Fisheries PolicyFootnote 1). As a result, Italy has to rely on imported products to sustain its growing consumer demand.

Top ten fish and seafood markets in the world, in US$ millions, 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17 Market share % 2017
Reporting total 132,360 138,218 125,044 131,897 143,620 2.1 100
United States 19,174 21,556 20,062 20,783 22,971 4.6 16.0
Japan 15,657 15,206 13,799 14,283 15,428 −0.4 10.7
China 8,406 8,968 8,773 9,122 11,111 7.2 7.7
Spain 6,464 6,979 6,503 7,178 8,065 5.7 5.6
France 6,723 6,781 5,939 6,344 6,881 0.6 4.8
Italy 5,785 6,123 5,576 6,198 6,610 3.4 4.6
Germany 5,650 6,119 5,278 5,752 5,788 0.6 4.0
Korea 3,729 4,373 4,452 4,728 5,211 8.7 3.6
Sweden 4,482 4,761 4,414 5,182 4,942 2.5 3.4
United Kingdom 4,541 4,753 4,326 4,392 4,358 −1.0 3.0
Canada (15) 2,881 3,046 2,756 2,882 3,020 1.2 2.1

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

Note: Data are based on fish and seafood imports retrieved in March 2018.

Italy accounted for a 4.6% market share of the fish and seafood in the world. Canada was the fifteenth- largest market in fish and seafood, accounting for 2.1% of the total world market share.

Top ten suppliers of fish and seafood to Italy, in US$ millions, 2013 to 2017 (based on Italy's import data)
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
World total 5,784.7 6,123.0 5,575.5 6,198.4 6,609.9 3.4
Spain 1,156.9 1,207.1 1,159.6 1,261.2 1,346.2 3.9
Netherlands 369.3 391.9 371.9 395.1 410.3 2.7
Denmark 377.7 368.5 341.8 367.1 406.8 1.9
Sweden 207.1 247.7 239.1 327.9 343.9 13.5
France 298.4 272.7 248.2 280.3 321.8 1.9
Ecuador 293.4 304.6 198.2 247.2 288.8 −0.4
Greece 272.7 284.9 229.8 247.4 256.4 −1.5
Morocco 194.2 189.5 194.2 241.0 243.7 5.8
Germany 221.9 243.3 225.9 233.9 215.5 −0.7
India 123.2 149.7 141.4 152.8 169.5 8.3
Canada (41) 14.3 19.1 20.5 20.8 21.6 10.9

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

In 2017, Italy's top three suppliers of fish and seafood were Spain (US$1.3 billion, 244,785 tonnes), the Netherlands (US$410 million, 59,740 tonnes) and Denmark (US$406 million, 56,390 tonnes). Canada was the forty-first largest supplier (US$21.6 million, 1,654 tonnes) and was the twenty-seventh largest non-EU supplier of fish and seafood to Italy in 2017.

Top ten suppliers of fish and seafood to Italy, in tonnes, 2013 to 2017
Country 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
World total 996,919 1,058,104 1,081,935 1,110,212 1,150,645 3.7
Spain 205,148 220,548 239,382 232,126 244,785 4.5
Netherlands 53,765 58,518 60,845 60,476 59,740 2.7
Denmark 48,502 49,323 53,041 47,138 56,390 3.8
United Kingdom 15,806 19,258 21,591 23,147 50,430 33.6
France 44,706 41,979 45,538 52,087 50,227 3.0
Germany 43,560 50,585 53,069 51,781 49,445 3.2
Greece 49,187 50,712 45,227 47,371 49,070 −0.1
Sweden 26,333 35,458 42,357 40,484 42,593 12.8
Vietnam 40,346 39,811 37,777 39,684 42,429 1.3
Ecuador 38,117 37,002 30,340 36,281 39,767 1.1
Canada (49) 1,499 1,855 1,857 1,711 1,654 2.5

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

Canada was the forty-ninth largest supplier of fish and seafood in volume (tonnes) to Italy and the thirty-first largest non-EU supplier in 2017.

Top ten fish and seafood to Italy by Harmonized System (HS) code, in US$ millions, 2013 to 2017 (based on Italy's import data)
HS code Description 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
Total 5,784.7 6,123.0 5,575.5 6,198.4 6,609.9 3.4
160414 Prepared or preserved tunas/skipjack/bonito 813.7 808.5 623.8 639.6 743.2 −2.2
030743 Frozen cuttlefish and squid 448.2 454.7 425.1 525.3 703.5 11.9
030617 Frozen shrimp and prawns 445.8 562.0 443.0 490.2 495.7 2.7
030752 Frozen octopus 210.8 287.6 285.7 312.3 355.3 13.9
030214 Fresh or chilled Atlantic salmon 210.1 229.7 222.5 306.0 308.0 10.0
030541 Smoked Pacific salmon 201.1 237.3 211.9 256.6 268.7 7.5
030289 Fresh or chilled fish 120.0 128.8 124.4 136.6 194.1 12.8
030285 Fresh or chilled sea bream 172.4 190.3 174.8 192.7 188.5 2.3
030284 Fresh or chilled sea bass 149.9 164.1 154.3 172.8 174.2 3.8
160419 Prepared or preserved fish whole or in pieces 139.3 149.3 126.9 132.8 148.6 1.6

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

The top imported products were prepared or preserved tuna, skipjack or bonito, worth US$743.2 million, followed by frozen cuttlefish and squid, worth US$703.5 million.

Canada's performance

According to Global Trade Tracker, Canada was the forty-first largest supplier of fish and seafood products to Italy in 2017, with a value of US$21.6 million (based on Italy's import data). Canada was the twenty-seventh largest non-EU supplier of fish and seafood to Italy in 2017. Italy's imports from Canada increased at a compound annual growth rate of 10.8% from 2013 to 2017. Much of this increase can be attributed to the increment in supplies of Canadian frozen Pacific salmon (CAGR: 35.4%) and frozen lobster (CAGR: 21.8%), and Canadian edible seaweeds and other algae (CAGR: 19.0%).

Italy's top fish and seafood imports from Canada, in US$, 2013 to 2017
HS code Description 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
Total 14,322,701 19,053,612 20,535,464 20,809,720 21,593,689 10.8
030632 Live, fresh or chilled lobster 6,843,809 7,858,264 6,458,735 6,239,606 7,664,148 2.9
030612 Frozen lobster 3,134,555 5,442,147 6,267,050 7,510,020 6,663,390 20.7
030312 Frozen Pacific salmon 1,135,517 2,018,005 2,931,524 1,853,823 3,820,949 35.4
030551 Dried cod 940,551 1,352,777 1,896,956 2,025,295 1,657,161 15.2
160530 Prepared or preserved lobster 602,147 454,670 822,817 1,352,971 654,913 2.1
121229 Fresh, chilled, frozen or dried seaweeds and other algae 296,073 466,046 270,610 463,978 594,483 19.0
030389 Frozen fish 253,669 211,338 392,247 212,761 117,535 −17.5
051191 Fish, crustaceans, molluscs or other aquatic invertebrate 38,083 46,322 90,329 80,010 83,896 21.8
030541 Smoked Pacific salmon and Atlantic salmon 94,083 30,035 28,701 57,771 83,262 −3.0
030542 Smoked herring 381,948 360,599 330,127 246,043 64,741 −35.8

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

In 2017, Italy's top three imports of fish and seafood from Canada were live, fresh or chilled lobster (US$7.7 million, 409 tonnes); frozen lobster (US$6.7 million, 383 tonnes); and frozen Pacific salmon (US$3.8 million, 450 tonnes).

Italy's top fish and seafood imports from Canada, in tonnes, 2013 to 2017
HS code Description 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
Total 1,499 1,855 1,857 1,711 1,654 2.5
030312 Frozen Pacific salmon 381 495 599 395 450 4.2
030632 Live, fresh or chilled lobsters 461 497 365 363 409 −2.9
030612 Frozen lobsters 254 383 446 436 383 10.8
121229 Fresh, chilled, frozen or dried seaweeds and other algae 122 130 84 150 211 14.7
030551 Dried cod 64 78 109 118 89 8.6
160530 Prepared or preserved lobster 21 12 34 98 49 23.6
051000 Ambergris, castoreum, civet, musk, cantharides, bile 0 23 0 0 23 N/C
030542 Smoked herring 116 117 125 76 16 −39.1
030389 Frozen fish 13 11 18 9 16 5.3
030481 Frozen fillets of Pacific salmon 4 0 3 34 3 −6.9

Source: Global Trade Tracker, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

N/C: not calculable

Market sizes

Fish and seafood products are perceived to be very healthy among Italian consumers and are important components of the Mediterranean diet. Italian cuisine traditionally includes a large variety of fish and seafood dishes. The total volume sales of fish and seafood remained steady at a compound annual growth rate of 0% from 2013 to 2017. Total volume sales of crustaceans grew at a 2.4% compound annual growth rate during the same period.

Due to the flows of international migrants to Italy, consumers' food preferences are becoming more diversified, which contributes to a shift from the traditional fish-focused Mediterranean diet to other international cuisines. Furthermore, while older Italian consumers still prefer fish and seafood products that fall within a traditional style of cuisine, younger generations are more likely to try products based on international cooking styles (Euromonitor International, 2018).

Historical total volume sales of fish and seafood in '000 tonnes, 2013 to 2017
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
Fish and seafood 513.4 516.8 501.6 495.3 513.4 0.0
Crustaceans 29.6 29.8 29.6 32.0 32.5 2.4
Fish 380.3 382.8 372.7 364.8 380.6 0
Molluscs and cephalopods 103.5 104.2 99.3 98.5 100.2 −0.8

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

Total volume sales of fish and seafood in Italy reached 513,400 tonnes in 2017, among which fish accounted for 380,600 tonnes. Crustaceans, molluscs and cephalopods together have a smaller total volume share of fish and seafood, about 26%.

Forecast total volume sales of fish and seafood in '000 tonnes, 2018 to 2022
2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 CAGR* % 2018-22
Fish and seafood 525.1 532.2 537.2 538.8 542.7 0.8
Crustaceans 32.9 33.2 33.6 34.2 35.0 1.6
Fish 390.8 396.9 401.1 402.5 405.3 0.9
Molluscs and cephalopods 101.3 102.1 102.4 102.1 102.3 0.2

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

It is forecast that total volume sales of fish and seafood will reach 542,700 tonnes in 2022 and will have a compound annual growth rate of 0.8%.

Historical retail sales of fish and seafood in '000 tonnes, 2013 to 2017
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
Fish and seafood 407.6 411.3 398.9 394.1 409.3 0.1
Crustaceans 23.5 23.7 23.6 25.6 26.1 2.7
Fish 301.9 304.7 296.2 290.2 303.4 0.1
Molluscs and cephalopods 82.2 82.9 79.1 78.4 79.9 −0.7

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

Retail sales of fish and seafood in Italy reached 409,300 tonnes in 2017 and the compound annual growth rate remained 0.1% from 2013 to 2017.

Forecast retail sales of fish and seafood in '000 tonnes, 2018 to 2022
2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 CAGR* % 2018-22
Fish and seafood 419.3 426.4 431.2 433.1 437.9 1.1
Crustaceans 26.4 26.6 26.8 27.0 27.3 0.8
Fish 311.9 318.0 322.3 324.1 328.0 1.3
Molluscs and cephalopods 81.0 81.7 82.1 82.0 82.6 0.5

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

It is forecast that retail sales of fish and seafood will reach 437,900 tonnes in 2022 with a compound annual growth rate of 1.1%. Retail sales of crustaceans and fish will record a 0.8% and 1.3 compound annual growth rate respectively from 2018 to 2022.

Historical retail sales of fish and seafood in US$ millions, 2013 to 2017
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
Fish and seafood 6,461.0 6,599.7 6,430.7 6,219.3 6,572.3 0.4
Crustaceans 636.9 650.0 648.5 638.0 608.1 −1.2
Fish 4,954.5 5,062.0 4,933.2 4,819.0 5,165.0 1.0
Molluscs and cephalopods 869.5 887.8 849.0 762.3 799.3 −2.1

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

Retail sales of fish and seafood in Italy reached US$6,572 million in 2017, among which fish accounted for US$5,165 million, or 78.6% of total retail sales.

Forecast retail sales of fish and seafood in US$ millions, 2018 to 2022
2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 CAGR* % 2018-22
Fish and seafood 6,820.8 7,034.6 7,220.7 7,360.0 7,565.6 2.6
Crustaceans 623.7 638.1 650.4 664.7 684.9 2.4
Fish 5,376.3 5,557.0 5,714.7 5,828.5 5,994.0 2.8
Molluscs and cephalopods 820.8 839.4 855.7 866.9 886.8 2.0

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

It is forecast that retail sales of fish and seafood will reach US$7,565.6 million in 2022 with a compound annual growth rate of 2.6%.

Distribution channels and product launches

Distribution of fish and seafood by format: % total volume, 2013 to 2017
2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 CAGR* % 2013-17
Retail 79.4 79.6 79.5 79.6 79.7 0.1
Foodservice 18.3 18.1 18.3 18.2 18.2 −0.1
Institutional 2.3 2.3 2.2 2.2 2.1 −2.2
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Source: Euromonitor International, 2018

*CAGR: compound annual growth rate

Retail has been the biggest distribution format, accounting for over 79% of the total distribution of fish and seafood since 2013.

Number of fish and seafood launches, by store type, 2013 to 2017
Store type 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total sample
Supermarket 50 36 29 24 22 161
Mass merchandise/hypermarket 9 4 3 5 6 27
Convenience store 6 0 0 0 0 6
Gourmet store 0 0 0 2 0 2
Specialist retailer 1 1 0 0 0 2
Direct selling 0 0 0 0 1 1
Total sample 66 42 32 31 29 200

Source: Mintel 2018

There were two hundreds fish and seafood products launched in the Italian market between 2013 and 2017, sixty-three of which were new products. One hundred and sixty-one products were distributed through supermarkets between 2013 and 2017. Supermarkets dominate the distribution of fish and seafood in Italy.

Fish and seafood by launch type in Italy, 2013 to 2017
Launch type 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 Total sample
New variety/range extension 31 24 12 18 13 98
New product 30 12 9 4 8 63
New packaging 2 2 9 3 7 23
Relaunch 0 4 2 5 1 12
New formulation 3 0 0 1 0 4
Total sample 66 42 32 31 29 200

Source: Mintel 2018

Conclusion

The fish and seafood market is set to grow steadily over the forecast period in terms of both total volume and retail volume terms. This will be driven by consumers' love of fish and seafood as well as demand for a protein source that also has a range of health benefits. Fish and seafood consumption will increase also as average incomes in Italy have increased.

Italy provides many opportunities for Canadian fish processing companies that are willing to take the time to establish business relationships and meet the necessary regulatory requirements enforced by the country.

For more information

International Trade Commissioners can provide Canadian industry with on-the-ground expertise regarding market potential, current conditions and local business contacts, and are an excellent point of contact for export advice.

For additional intelligence on this and other markets, the complete library of Global Analysis reports can be found on the International agri-food market intelligence page, arranged by region.

For additional Information on Seafood Expo Global 2018, please contact:

Ben Berry, Deputy Director
Trade Show Strategy and Delivery
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada
ben.berry@canada.ca

Resources

Sector Trend Analysis: Fish and Seafood in Italy
Global Analysis Report

Prepared by: Hongli Wang, Market Analyst

© Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, represented by the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food (2018).

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