The Most Important Food Products Exported From Italy

Italy Food Export

Italy is the third largest economy in the European Union and has the 12th largest GDP globally. Famous for its top-quality wines and superb diversity of popular cuisine, Italy’s food and beverage exports play a major role in the overall success of the economy.

Italy’s annual food exports amount to more than 40 Billion Euros with almost 75% of its exports going to other European nations and approximately 17% to the USA. Italy’s wine exports are also a huge earner for the country and add up to an impressive 8 Billion Euros per year in 2022.

Italy – A Farmer’s Paradise.

Italy’s Mediterranean climate is ideal for farming a wide range of products and the country is blessed with extremely fertile soils. Ranging from the volcanic soils of Sardinia, ideal for growing grapes and olives, to the slopes of Lombardy which are better suited to growing vegetables, fruits and rearing animals, the diversity of Italian landscapes means that the small nation can excel in a huge variety of agricultural produce.

Italy also has excellent, carefully maintained fish stocks, both coastal and freshwater. Although the majority of Italian fish is exported within the European Union, this plays an important economic role for rural communities. To add to these advantages, Italy has a long and well-developed heritage of organic farming traditions that produce food and beverages that are highly sought after in the global markets.

Italy is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and attracts up to 90 million visitors each year. This means that people who visit from all over the world are able to experience Italian food and wine and develop a taste for the unique produce of the small, Mediterranean nation. As a consequence, when they return home, they will often seek out Italian food, wines and other exports, helping to fuel the overseas demand for Italian exports.

Furthermore, Italian food is very healthy and is widely considered to be one of the best diets in the world for increasing longevity. This also adds to the appeal of Italian exports for anyone who takes their own health seriously.

The Biggest Italian Food And Beverage Exports.

The following are the biggest food and beverage products exported from Italy:

Rice And Cereals.

One of Italy’s top exports is rice and cereals. This accounts for almost 7.8 Billion Euros per year and is mainly grown in Northern regions such as Lombardy, Piedmont and Veneto. Most of the rice grown in Italy is the Japonica variety, which makes up 84% of its annual harvest, while the remainder is an Indica rice variety. The climate and landscapes of Northern Italy are ideally suited to growing rice, with an abundance of water and fertile soils. This allows Italian rice farmers to grow their rice in flooded fields and achieve excellent yields each harvest.

The main Italian cereal exports are wheat and meslin. The annual value of Italy’s wheat and meslin exports is around 80 million Euros per year. The biggest producer of cereals in Italy is Puglia, which has 390,000 hectares of cereal farms, followed by Tuscany and Le Marche with 115,000 hectares each, and Sardinia with 95,000 hectares.

Olive Oil.

Italy exports around 338 thousand tonnes of olive oil per year, with its virgin olive oil exports being valued at almost 1.5 Billion Euros per year. The majority of Italy’s olive oil is grown in the South of the country, with 68% being produced in Puglia and Calabria, 8% in Sicily, 6% in Campania, 4% in Abruzzo and the remaining 9% being produced in Lazio, Tuscany and Umbria.

Italy produces a wide variety of export olive oils, ranging from basic cooking oils to flavored gourmet olive oils and unique regional extra-virgin and virgin olive oils. Italian olive oil is perfect for cooking with but the more luxury brands are better used in salads. But however you use your Italian olive oil, what’s for certain is that the nation boasts some of the finest olive oil producers on the planet.

Pistachio Nuts.

Pistachio nuts have been a traditional part of Italy’s culinary heritage since the Middle Ages. Most of Italy’s pistachio nuts are grown in the hot climate of Sicily with the island producing around 90% of the nation’s total exports. Sicily’s pistachio nuts are produced in the fertile soils beneath Mount Etna where you’ll mainly find the highly prized Pistachio Verde di Bronte and the Green Pistachio varieties being grown. A lot of Italy’s pistachio exports are destined for America but they are also popular in China and the United Arab Emirates.


Italian cheese is one of the nation’s most unusual exports. Enjoyed by connoisseurs everywhere, Italy produces a huge assortment of cheeses that are made using cow, buffalo, goat and sheep’s milk. Some of Italy’s leading cheese exports include Parmigiano Reggiano, Gorgonzola, Pecorino Romano and Mozzarella, although these only represent a partial range of the total varieties that are available on the global market.

Italy’s cheese exports are a booming market and grew by more than 12% between 2020 and 2021, reaching 3.6 Billion Euros. The main importers of Italian cheese are the United States and China although it is also sold widely throughout the European Union.


Practically synonymous with Italy itself, pasta is one of the nation’s top exports and is valued at 2.5 Billion Euros per year. In fact, Italy’s pasta exports account for as much as 30% of the world’s total exports!

Italy’s pasta production combines traditional techniques with modern technologies and with a huge range of large and small producers, there’s a fantastic selection to choose from. The largest importers of Italian pasta are France, Germany, the USA and the UK but in recent years Saudi Arabia has been one of the fastest-growing export markets for Italy’s pasta producers.

Fresh And Processed Vegetables.

Italy has some of the most fertile soils in Europe, boasting superb farmland, and incorporates organic methods and techniques in its cultivation. This gives Italian vegetables a premium price on the markets and the strict European Union regulations mean that Italy’s exports are of a superior quality to many of its competitors.

Italy’s fresh vegetable exports are worth 1.8 Billion Euros per year and its processed vegetable exports account for 3.5 Billion Euros per year. Unsurprisingly, tomatoes are one of Italy’s main vegetable exports and, partly as a result of the growing popularity of the Mediterranean diet, Italian canned tomato exports grew by over 20% in 2022 alone. As well as tomatoes, Italy also exports tinned mushrooms, asparagus, condiments, seasonings and mustard in bulk to the global markets.

Fish And Meat.

Italy’s fish and meat exports have been seeing solid growth in recent years and currently account for more than 1.5 Billion Euros years annually. The primary fish exports include squid, octopus, tuna and cuttlefish while the top meat exports include cured meats such as ham and Prosciutto. Healthy, tasty and safely prepared, Italy’s fish and meats are shipped to restaurants and supermarkets all over the planet.

Italy Exports High-Quality Food And Beverages.

The beautiful Dolce Vita of Italy, which attracts so many tourists, is founded on the nation’s fantastic food and beverages. From delightfully eccentric wines to delicious staples such as pasta, meat and fish, Italy excels in so many areas of farming and food production that it can really boggle the mind! Fortunately for anyone living outside of Italy, modern transport systems enable people everywhere to conveniently access many of Italy’s favorite food and beverage exports.

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