International Egg and Poultry Review: Italy

ITALY - This is a weekly report by the USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), looking at international developments concerning the poultry industry. This week's looks at the industry in Italy.
calendar icon 13 July 2011
clock icon 4 minute read

Italy is the sixth largest producer of poultry meat in the EU-27 (European Union-27). Its poultry production accounts for 10 per cent of total production in the EU-27. However, poultry takes a back seat to beef and pork production and consumption preference. Most of Italy's poultry production is centred in the northern part of the country in the following provinces: Veneto, Emilia-Romagna, Lombardia and Piemonte. Poultry meat production is divided as follows: 64 per cent broiler, 23 per cent turkey and 13 per cent other species. Most of Italy's poultry industry is vertically integrated.

Broiler production

The production and consumption of broiler meat in Italy in 2011 is projected to increase about one per cent. Italian broiler meat production and exports exceeded that of other competing proteins due to its cost advantage making 2010 a very good year for industry. Production of broiler meat increased five per cent and exports 51 per cent in 2010 over 2009. Domestic demand for broiler meat also increased in 2010 due to lower prices.

Italy's beef and pork industries either maintained or increased prices in 2010 in order to maintain their profit margins. Conversely, the broiler industry and retailers decreased meat prices in an effort to sway consumer demand towards broiler meat, which they successfully accomplished. However, this strategy almost cost producers as prices fell to a minimum of €0.80 per kilogram in light of high input costs. Producers continue to be cautious with the high feed costs.

In addition, broiler meat production in the EU-27 was also projected to increase slightly in 2011, due to rising domestic demand. However, the broiler industry's competitiveness, expected production increases and marginal profit margins could be adversely affected in the EU-27 by newly implemented animal welfare guidelines and high grain costs.

Broiler consumption

The global economic crisis continues to influence total meat consumption in Italy. Demand for broiler meat has increased the past three years, due to comparatively lower prices. Italian consumption shifts have been attributed to innovation, freshness, functionality and most importantly, price. In 2010, per capita consumption reached a record high (11.93kg), which is the highest it has been since 2001 (12.21kg) during Italy's first outbreak of BSE.

Of Italian households, about 78 per cent buy broiler meat with 14.4 per cent purchasing broiler meat once a week. By type, Italian consumption is as follows: 64 per cent selected cuts (legs, breasts, etc.), 21 per cent processed product (hot dogs, sausages, stuffed chicken), and 15 per cent whole birds.

Broiler exports

Italy only exports a small percentage of broiler meat as it is mostly self-sufficient. The small amount that is exported is shipped primarily within the EU-27. However, Italy is exploring future opportunities with Hong Kong and Viet Nam. As a whole, exports of EU-27 broiler meat are expected to remain steady due to its lack of international competitiveness and limited exportable supplies.

Turkey production

Turkey production and consumption in 2011 are expected to stay consistent; however, both will be significantly impacted by feed prices. In 2010, production declined 4.6 per cent from 2009 levels. EU-27 turkey meat production is expected to decline in 2011 due to higher feed costs. EU-27 exports of turkey meat are also forecast to decline in 2011 due to limited exportable supplies.

Turkey consumption

Turkey meat consumption declined five per cent in 2010 following two years of consumption increase. Per capita consumption was 3.9kg in 2010. Of Italian households, about 48 per cent purchased turkey meat, with six per cent buying turkey meat each week.

By type, Italian consumption is as follows: 79 per cent selected cuts (legs, breasts, etc.), 19 per cent processed cuts (sausages, stuffed turkey, roasted turkey, wurstel, etc.) and two per cent as whole birds.

Further Reading

- You can view the full report by clicking here.
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