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Italian butter is coming back to pre-covid splendor 

Made in Italy dairy products recorded a positive balance in foreign sales by volume of 3.9% for the first three months of 2023, achieving an export growth of almost 6% in just two years. There is no food sector that has been able to do better. These are the data released by the 78th assembly of Assolatte, the national association that brings together around 1,500 Italian companies in the dairy sector, worth 18 billion euros in turnover. Five of these billions come from foreign markets where the demand for Italian cheeses, despite the increase in prices, continues to grow. Along with famous cheeses such as Parmigiano Reggiano, butter is also experiencing his long deserved revenge. After a rough couple of years – mainly due to covid restrictions – 2022 marked a return of exports to pre-covid levels, with a figure of around +40% compared to 2019.  

As revealed by, in 2022 Chinese imports of dairy products soared and this trend is forecasted to only get better. The result is an increase in average import prices of +43% for butter compared to 2021. Italy was able to benefit from this, marking a positive performance compared to 2021 in quantity and placing the export of Italian cheeses in fourth place after New Zealand (64% of the market share), Australia (14%) and the United States (5%). The European Union, however, confirms itself as the second largest supplier of dairy products to China. 

“Butter is crucial in European cuisine and is becoming more and more relevant in Asian markets as well” says Gabriele Falcone, CEO and co-founder of Virgilio Creating Value, a business Development and Consulting firm specialized in f&b and operating as a regional office branch in the Asia-pacific area, “Italian butter is raising in popularity for its versatility and light taste. Latteria Soresina, Italian market leader for Grana Padano and Parmigiano Reggiano, has just expanded their offer with a gourmet butter of higher quality that is already attracting a lot of interest among retailers in Asia. However, It is important to highlight that the use of butter in Chinese cuisine is not as widespread as it is in Western cuisine, and that a successful export strategy needs a project tailored to each company’s unique needs and characteristics. Once again, understanding the culture is pivotal especially when dealing with Asian markets” 

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