Italian F&B, the world is smiling at us

Michele Caprini
19 Nov 2019

Italian F&B is experiencing a favourable trend in its international dimension in terms of size, market share and positioning. Yesterday, Deloitte presented in Milan the preview of its "Italian Cuisine Market Monitor" study on the state, local and global foodservice industry.

Italian food? Yes, please!

The Italian F&B market reached €229 billion in 2018. Of these, only €39 billion were made within national borders, making Italy the third largest player after China and USA.

China is the first Italian F&B market by value, with an expenditure of €71 billion and a penetration rate of 15.8%. The United States, on the other hand, is first place for the penetration rate of Italian cooking, 35.7%, for a total volume of € 69 billion.

India and Brazil are also highly appreciative of our cuisine (24.9% and 28.2% respectively). In Europe, besides, the main markets are United Kingdom, Spain and France, where the Italian F&B industry weighs between 4 and 3 billion euros, in order.

Food service in the global market

In 2018, food service around the world generated a value of €2,563 billion, 46% of which generated in Asia Pacific. This area has led the growth of the industry: CAGR +4.1% in the 2014-2018 period, followed by North America (+2.0%) and Europe (+1.2%).

The American and Chinese markets are the first by value, yet it is our cuisine that has the greatest growth potential abroad. Then there are the Japanese, French and Asian cuisines.

Globally, growth in the foodservice market will continue over the period 2018-2022, albeit at a slower pace (2.4%). Asia Pacific (+2.7%) and the rest of the world (+3.8%) will be the main players.


With its 50% market share, the Full-Service Restaurant channel has been confirmed as the world's leading F&B channel. Over the period considered, the value of the sector further increased (+2.7% CAGR), although the growth rate of other channels was lower.

Among these, Street Stalls (the different formats of street food, +3.7%) and limited service catering. The latter comprises fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, pizzerias and caffeterias, whose CAGR recorded an increase of 2.8%.

The so-called grocerant, a hybrid-type supermarket/restaurant, is now becoming more and more popular and is attracting the attention of consumers who are attentive to the cost-effectiveness and accessibility of its offer.

Food delivery services will be worth combined over €95 billion in 2019 (+17.5 yoy), confirming their role as an important alternative for both restaurants and supermarkets.

What do consumers want on their tables?

Quality, reflecting a more general attention to health, and sustainability are the dominant features of the new restoration industry.

Sustainability, in particular, has become a key priority for restaurants and supermarkets, which will need to pay more and more attention to the traceability of eco-friendly products and packaging. This is a turning point in consumer behaviour for 72% of European citizens.