High volumes of organic meat imports are coming into the Italian market as domestic supplies continue to fall short of demand, according to a new Organic Monitor report on the Italian organic meat products market.
Although Italy has the largest amount of organic farmland in Europe with 1.23 million hectares, it seems there is a shortage of organic meat producers. Italy has approximately 60,000 organic farms, yet only about 1,500 of these are organic meat producers.
According to the report, this is responsible for making the Italian organic meat market the most import-dependent in Europe, with significant volumes of all products imported. The organic beef segment is cited as the most import reliant with over a half of all volumes coming in from countries such as Austria and Germany.
Organic Monitor reports consumer demand for organic meat products as remaining buoyant in Italy and forecasts the Italian organic meat products market to expand by 23 per cent in 2003. It explains the major driver of growth as being due to the widening availability of organic meat products in the major retailers.
Yet while the supermarkets are showing high interest in organic meat products, the report states that supply shortages and quality issues have prevented higher sales volumes. It notes however that organic meat sales are expected to rise significantly in the near term as more volumes become available from Italian meat producers and other countries.