coffee market in Italy 2021, import, export and consumption

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The Italian coffee industry, unable to dispense with national raw materials, is entirely dependent on foreign supplies and yet it expresses an industrial reality of great national and international importance.

Source/Source:'s preparation of data from the Italian Coffee Committee, considering 1 bag/bag = 60 kg
Source/Source:’s preparation of data from the Italian Coffee Committee, considering 1 bag/bag = 60 kg

In Italy, approximately one thousand companies are active in the coffee sector, spread over all regions of the peninsula, with direct employment estimated at approximately 7,000 employees and an industry turnover of approximately 4 billion euros in 2021, of which approx. 1.5 billion from export sales. After the decline in consumption in 2020, due to the pandemic and the consequent loss of sales in the Horeca sector and in the vending & OCS sector, the coffee industry resumed growth in 2021 with a good recovery, although not yet complete, compared to pre-pandemic values . Italy remains the third largest country in the world for imports of green coffee (after the US and Germany) and is the second country in the EU (after Germany) for export volumes of roasted coffee.

CoffeeExperts by Andrea and Marco Bazzara


According to data from the Italian Food-Coffee Union, the global amount of coffee imports in Italy in 2020, due to the pandemic crisis, decreased by more than 7% and reached 10.2 million bags (i.e. 610 million kg). In 2021, coffee imports resumed and exceeded the threshold of 11 million bags (about 661 million kg) for the first time, with an increase of over 8% compared to the previous year. Coffee imports comprise 94% (approx. 10.3 million bags) of raw coffee imported from the various producing countries and this represents the volume available for processing in our country. The rest of the imports are roasted coffee, mostly soluble and ground in capsules, mainly from the Swiss factories of the Nestlé-Nespresso group. Over half of our raw coffee imports come from just two producing countries: Brazil (mainly Arabica grades) and Vietnam (Robusta grades). It should also be emphasized that during the course of 2021 there was a situation with rising prices of green coffee on the international market. In the first months of 2022, price growth continued, but from March 2022 the trend can be reversed with the first price drops both in the London market and in the New York market.

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According to data from the Italian Food-Coffee Union, the volume of Italian coffee exports also decreased in 2020 by approx. 6%, which reaches 5.14 million bags (ie 309 million kg). Growth resumed in 2021, with export volumes reaching a record 5.8 million bags (346.7 million kg), up 12%. Analyzing the historical series of coffee export data, it can be stated that in the last 15 years the volume of Italian coffee exports has tripled; Exports are in fact the real driver of growth for the Italian coffee industry, as the volume of domestic consumption appears to be stagnating, if not actually declining. Our roasted coffee exports are primarily intended to fuel the international demand for Italian-style espresso coffee. The most important points of sale are the countries of Western Europe (which absorb over 60%), especially France, Germany, Austria and Great Britain. Among the countries outside the EU, there are significant shares: Switzerland, the USA, Australia, Russia and Canada.

The Espresso Coffee Supply Chain - Franco and Mauro Bazzara's Coffee Tasting - Planet Coffee


In 2020, the year of the pandemic, the “apparent consumption” of coffee in Italy (import – export) dropped to 301 million kg of raw coffee equivalents. In 2021, a partial recovery began and apparent consumption reached 314 million kg, an increase of 5.5% compared to 2020, but to a level even lower than in 2019. At the same time, per capita consumption has now increased to 5.3 kg per year . Apparent consumption does not account for inventory movements and therefore must be evaluated on a multi-year basis to amortize the effect of inventory changes.

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Until now, we have always stated volumes in terms of “green coffee equivalent”. But if we talk about consumption, we have to refer to the volumes in terms of roasted coffee, Since the transition from “Green Coffee” to “Roasted Coffee” means a weight reduction of about 20%, the apparent consumption for the year 2021 can be estimated at about 261 Mn /kg of coffee. It should also be specified that the consumption of roasted coffee is compensated for a small (but significant) part of the so-called “industrial consumption”, that is, the use of coffee in the preparation of other coffee-based products (bakery and ice cream). cream products, creams, different yogurts and desserts, coffee drinks, extracts, essences and concentrates, …). The large part is instead represented by the consumption of roasted coffee for the preparation of the homonymous hot drink and other hot coffee-based drinks and in this sense the consumption in 2021 is estimated at around 226 million kg of roasted coffee, in recycling compared to 219 million in 2020, but still under the 245 million roasted coffee during the pre-pandemic (2019). For 2023, they hope for a further recovery, even if the already ongoing price increase could dampen demand.

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