Sigep Italian artisan show reports Christmas season market buoyancy ahead of 2024 show

A host of key innovations are set to be highlighted at the Sigep international artisan gelato, pastry bakery and coffee show, which will host its 45th edition between 20-24 January 2024, with its organisers noting a key upturn in the segment’s fortunes, reports Neill Barston.

In its latest ‘observatory,’ the event’s team noted an encouraging recovery in dolce bakery consumption, which, with 3.3 billion products served (+1.4% compared to 2022), is almost at pre-pandemic levels.

This has been further bolstered by research from consumer analysis group, Circana, which found that consumption levels were expected to be in line with last year, with a total of five Master Pastry Chefs also reportedly sharing the upbeat assessment.

Circana’s figures show a positive 2023 for “out of home”: up until September – the latest data available in the study conducted on a quarterly basis – spending is expected to be around 50.7 billion euro with an average of 4.56 euro per purchase; a growth of 11.9% compared to the same period last year. Also positive are the 11.1 billion “visits”, or rather, the number of people entering and leaving food-related businesses, including delivery, with an increase of 5.5%.

“Out of home” consumption in Italy is growing compared to last year, even if growth rates are slowing.” says Matteo Figura, head of Foodservice for Circana Italia. Attendances are stabilising at pre-pandemic levels, while in regard to the amounts spent, it should be remembered that growth is also due to the general rise in prices.

“The consumption of dolce bakery products fits into this context. The recovery in recent years is evident: we are currently at 3.3 billion products and it won’t be long before we return to the 3.5 billion of 2019. A dolce bakery product is acquired in 25.3% of “out of home” visits,” concludes Figura.

This propensity to consume has been stable over the years: in order to close the gap with 2019 levels, we need to recover the visits that less mobility outside the home has caused, especially on occasions such as breakfast that drive the dolce bakery sector.

Salvatore De Riso, from Salerno, president of AMPI (Italian Pastry Masters Academy), added: “Christmas orders are going well. Panettone, which we offer in 16 flavours, is still “King” and we have seen a boom for the half-kilo size: all 10,000 pieces that we usually estimate have already been sold. Why? I think people want to spend a little less, especially since the notorious increase in interest rates and prices in general.

“In any case, traditional panettone commands: out of 1,000 pieces of our 16 flavours, the classic version still accounts for 30%. As for online, during the pandemic, as Christmas approached, orders exploded from 1,500 to 12,000 and we are still at around 10,000 now with the bulk of e-commerce occurring right around this time.”|

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