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20% of consumers want “green” wine, more attention to organic and sustainability labels

This emerges from the Nomisma-Valoritaria Report. Sustainability: 9 out of 10 companies will adopt at least one new certification in the next 2 years

Organic, sustainable and low-alcohol wines will be the ones driving market trends in the near future and, to intercept these opportunities, the role of certification is becoming increasingly important. When buying wine, in fact, if 64% of consumers keep an eye above all on the Denomination of Origin and Geographical Indication, a good 20% check the presence of the organic or sustainability brand, with an increase from 4% in 2020 to 5% in 2021 of consumers interested in buying wine with an organic or sustainable brand, just as attention to alcohol content has grown from 9 to 12%. And, in the space of a year, the panel of consumers who recognize the added value of wine certification has also grown by six percentage points (from 61 to 67% for organic certification and from 55 to 57% for sustainable certification). Moreover, the pandemic has increased consumer awareness of the “green” shopping cart, so much so that 61% of Italians in 2021 believe it is important that the food products they buy are sustainable compared to 55% in 2020 (+2 million) and 57% in 2021 believe it is important to have an organic label compared to 55% in 2020 (+600,000). These are the findings of the Nomisma-Valoritalia Observatory Report on the value of certifications as perceived by producers and consumers, released together with the Annual Report 2020 by Valoritalia, the leading company in Italy in the certification of wines with Denomination of Origin, presented today in Rome.
“On the whole, the national wine-growing sector reacted well to the lockdown; despite the difficulties caused by the restrictions on movements and the very long closure of the Horeca channels, even at international level, the total bottled wine recorded in 2020 showed a growth of 1%. - Francesco Liantonio, president of Valoritalia, declared - these are numbers that should be read with great satisfaction because they testify to the quality of the work done to tackle an unprecedented crisis. A positive result, facilitated by the promptness with which the institutions have dealt with the emergency”.
The Annual Report 2020 also shows how Valoritalia, despite the objective difficulties of a difficult year, has never ceased its control and certification activities.
In 2020, almost 2 billion bottles were certified and the denominations managed by Valoritalia came close to 8 billion euros. According to Valoritalia estimates, the top 10 denominations cover 72% of the total value of bottled wine of all 229 certified Denominations. The core of this system is formed by the main denominations of the North East, starting with Prosecco Doc (worth 2,152 million euros), Delle Venezie Doc (817 million) and Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore Docg (553 million). The certification process involves a very large number of companies. In 2020 alone, over 124,000 positions were managed by the body. Almost 11,000 inspections were carried out, 68% in the field and 32% in the cellar. The number of marks distributed exceeded 1 billion, 229 designations were managed, 5,000 types of wine, and 729,601 product movements were recorded and traced.
Giuseppe Liberatore, managing director of Valoritalia, emphasized:
“This capillary work has helped keep the entire sector afloat. Our presence in the area is a value that is recognized by the Denomination system and which, at the same time, offers the system a fundamental contribution both on the domestic and foreign markets. The projections on trends for 2021, which are absolutely positive, only confirm the validity of the path taken”. According to the Valoritalia Report, updated to September 2021, the trend in bottled wines is growing strongly: from June 2020, as commercial channels gradually reopen, there has been a leap of over 13%.
“The concept of sustainability, declined in its various meanings, offers important impulses to the transformations of the markets and the demands of the same - commented Riccardo Ricci Curbastro, president of Equalitas - and defines scenarios in constant evolution. This is true both on the demand side and on the supply side. The case of Equalitas, whose standards in just a few years have gained concrete recognition from the main international bodies and the most important monopolies in Northern Europe, is a happy example. The direction is set and it is pleasing to see how large Italian wine companies are following us along this path on which we were among the first to move”.
“Origin, sustainability and attention to health represent the three main guidelines in the consumption choices of Italians in this “new normal”, which necessarily also involve wine”, said Denis Pantini, Head of Agri-Food & Wine Monitor at Nomisma. “Wine companies have understood very well the “green” orientation of consumers, so much so that 90% agree that in the next two years consumers will show a growing interest in organic and sustainable wines”. The Nomisma report also showed how sustainability is already a driver of corporate strategies: 9 out of 10 companies intend to adopt at least one new certification within the next two years. 15% of companies already have an Equalitas or Viva sustainability certification, while 27% are planning initiatives on this issue, 24% have a sustainability certification project underway and 27% already have concrete initiatives on this subject. And all this - as the Nomisma survey reveals - not only because having a production of sustainable certified wines has the advantage of simply being “greener” (47%) but also because it economically enhances the product, increasing margins and revenues (22%). Italian wine companies also foresee a good increase in sales of organic and sustainable wines for 2022, with a forecast, respectively for the two types, of increasing sales (between 2% and 10%) of 41% on the domestic market and 43% abroad and 38% (Italy) and 42% abroad. All this while organic and sustainable could one day merge under a single brand, a path that both Liantonio and Ricci Curbastro believe is possible but “with great caution”, Liantonio points out.
On the other hand, there is a glimpse on the horizon of the possibility of achieving a single certification mark in Italy, which is long overdue, and Valoritalia is continuing to work on this, as president Liantonio told WineNews: “It's not an easy path”, he stressed, “because there are so many different interests, but the consumer wants to recognize an ethical, moral and responsible business path in a single mark, so we will get there, with the help of the institutions. How long will it take to get there? A few months, if not a few years, the important thing is to work and that is what we are doing”.
Closing the proceedings was Filippo Gallinella, President of the Agriculture Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. Stressing the attention with which the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry Policies is following the path of sustainability, he reiterated that Italy's wine industry has never before been as ready as it is now to meet the demands of the domestic and international markets. “The challenge”, said Gallinella, “is now to get the right compensation for the efforts that companies make in the constant search for sustainable quality. After all, in the world there has been a desire for Made in Italy for many years; now there is an extraordinary desire for sustainable Made in Italy. It is up to us to continue to play this game in the best possible way”.

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