Exactly a year after it was launched, Made in Nature, the CSO Italy European project, confirms the success of its promotional activities and presents its achievements.

Berlin, 5 February

A year after its launch, Made in Nature – Discover the principles of European organic agriculture returns to Fruit Logistica Berlin to present what it has achieved during its first twelve months and take stock of the situation of Italian organic agriculture. Funded by the European Union and CSO Italy to the tune of 1.6 million euro, the project focuses on the promotion of organic produce in Italy, France and Germany and in its first year has achieved impressive results in terms of contacts and initiatives organised.

During the first year, thanks to its various initiatives and communication activities targeting the media – ranging from traditional PR to press lunches, to b2b meetings with operators and opinion leaders, to digital communication and social media activities, through to initiatives organised directly at sales outlets and participation in trade fairs – it is estimated that there have been over 20 million contacts.

This success was made possible thanks to the active involvement of the companies that support the project, like Brio, Canova, Conserve Italia, RK Growers, Veritas Biofrutta and the Lagnasco Group.

In Europe, the organic sector is continuing to grow, with Italy at the forefront in terms of number of operators and total surface area dedicated to organic agriculture, which in 2018 amounted to 15.5% of the national useable agricultural surface area; this puts Italy firmly above the European average, which stands at 7% (Source: Federbio).

Furthermore, Italy has seen an increase in overall exports of organic produce (+10%) and consumption (+5.3%), thanks to an increase in sales both in discount stores (+20.7%) and in the large-scale retail sector (+5.5%) (Source: Sinab).

The German market confirmed its position as a benchmark in Europe for the organic sector and has experienced a gradual increase in cultivated surface area that puts it fourth in Europe, after Spain, Italy and France. The trend is for constant growth in the range of products offered by supermarkets and discount stores, whilst specialist stores need to tackle the situation with new marketing models in order to promote sales.

In Germany, retail prices for organic products have increased slightly, especially for ambient and dairy products, whereas for fruit and vegetables, prices have actually fallen; the organic market in Germany is worth approximately 10.9 billion euro (Source: AMI).

The organic sector in Europe is continuing to grow, as confirmed by per capita spending, which in the European Union is around 67 euro.

The Press Lunch organised in Berlin was attended by Paolo Pari for Canova, Luca Zocca for Brio, Daniela Ballatore for RK Growers, Antonio Cogo of Veritas Biofrutta and Massimo Perotto of the Lagnasco Group, who were introduced by Paolo Bruni, President of CSO Italy. The key focus of the various speeches, made during a tasting and display of organic products, was the current position and future role of Italian organic agriculture, not only within the country, but throughout Europe, especially given the increase in new competitors (in France in particular, where a 17% increase in land given over to production was recorded compared to 2017) and the complications dictated by climate change and developments in consumer trends.

“We invested in this project in order to raise awareness and highlight the quality and importance of Italian organic produce in Europe and in our own country”, said Paolo Pari, Canova Marketing Director, during the presentation Press Lunch in Berlin. He continued stating, “this is a constant commitment that, having been severely tested by climate change and the rise of new overseas competitors, confirmed the competitiveness of our products. Projects like Made in Nature are the future for our sector, which needs new investments in infrastructures and above all, in consumer awareness of organic products and why it is so important”.

The importance of communicating the quality and merits of Italian organic produce and making it an added value that Italy should become global standard bearer of, were the focus of the speech by Daniela Ballatore, Sales Manager of RK Growers who said, “despite the difficulties we experienced in production, figures for 2019 are encouraging. The Italian organic sector is still excellent in terms of quality, thanks to our country’s long-standing tradition. The challenges we face today and in which Made in Nature plays a key role, are to make Italian organic produce even stronger and improve awareness of it around the world. We need to focus firmly on the future”.

Luca Zocca, Marketing Manager at Brio, pointed out that “understanding the evolution of the organic market” is “a crucial part of this delicate phase. Italy has incredible potential and a great desire to do well. We need to come together and adopt a systemic approach, in order to consolidate our leadership and the great tradition that has made Italian fruit and vegetables some of the most appreciated around the world”. Last year, Brio championed a series of instore initiatives in Germany, during which organic kiwis were presented. As Zocca continued, “this best represents what we can do as a country, dominating the market thanks to our superior quality, sealing deals outside our national borders. For this reason we will continue, thanks to Made in Nature, with our instore activities, in Germany and, for the first time, in France”.

Focusing on the excellence of Made in Italy brand products, Antonio Cogo, Sales Manager of Veritas Biofrutta, agreed. “Italian production is some of the best known in the world. The Italy brand is, in itself, a guarantee. This has been made possible thanks to years of hard work and certifications that make us stand out from all other countries. This is the direction we need to take and we should always strive to improve. Brio continues to invest and modernizing in order to get the best results as possible”.

For Massimo Perotto (Lagnasco Group) Made in Nature means “A new opportunity for our company, to pursue our objectives. For this reason we are organizing a series of taste tour in our fields addressed to German and French operators, in order to create relationships and give a truly experience of Italian products”.

After its first year, Made in Nature will be active for a further two years, which will involve taking part in trade fairs and the organisation of workshops, instore activities in target countries and other initiatives that will continue to focus on the goal of reaching over 24 million individual consumers and raising awareness amongst them of the importance of organic produce as a wellbeing and health and safety choice.

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