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Fresh food saw low growth in total volume sales in 2017. Consumers continue to be concerned about health and wellbeing; however, at the same time, convenience is also highly valued. In particular, convenient packaging, which increases the ease of buying and preparing fresh food, has continued to grow. This includes the growth of prewashed and packaged bags of salad, which are starting to include a sachet of salad dressing. Packaged meat and fish products are also becoming more commonplace. Portioned packaged fish fillets have increased in popularity allowing consumers to open and cook only what is needed for a meal, preserving freshness. Fruit and vegetable consumption has been encouraged by retailers offering precut or snacking options. For example, packaged snacking mini tomatoes allow consumers to have a healthy snack conveniently while on the go.
Fresh food will see positive total volume growth over the forecast period, in contrast to the stagnant performance during the review period. Population growth will be a key driver, particularly in fresh fruit and vegetable consumption. In addition, consumers will continue to shift towards fresh food and away from processed packaged food as health and wellness grows as a focus. Growth in fresh food will be supported by fresh food retailers that will increasingly offer products to cater to consumers’ demand for convenient and healthy fresh food. Fresh food will experience positive total volume growth across the board. Nuts and pulses will see the strongest growth. In terms of per capita consumption, not all categories will see growth. Consumer concern over the health and impact of sugar will be reflected in continued per capita consumption decline sugar and sweeteners.
Both “At Home” and “Away From Home” fresh food sales can be linked to two opposing trends in Italy, namely the rise of home-made meals and ongoing demand for convenient options such as meal solutions or foodservice. The advent of busier lifestyles has led to an increase in sales of packaged ready meals and other food and drink snacks, which are sold by grocery retailers at lower prices. However, paradoxically, it has also resulted in the popularity of cooking and entertaining at home, a trend which has been fuelled by the success of culinary-themed television programmes as well as several blogs and strong interest among the Italian public in cookery courses.