Allegrini 2018

Italians promote food communication. But they fear its price increases (more than bills)

Research from L’Eco della Stampa and Istituto Piepoli at the Food Journalism Festival. Vinitaly No. 1 event for communication

Vinitaly, despite talking mostly about wine, is the event that, by far, gets the most talk about food, evidence of how the nectar of Bacchus is a catalyst of attention for all things food and agriculture; the Mediterranean diet is the most mentioned in the press, radio, TV and web, Piedmont is the most mentioned region, obesity and alcohol abuse the issues most in the media. Still, for the vast majority of Italians, food communication is well and adequately done, and it scares them more about expensive food (bread and pasta in the lead) than rising utility bills. While thinking about a gastronomic trip, the first Region to visit is Tuscany. Extreme summary, this, of the two surveys “Media & Food 2022”, the report signed by L’Eco della Stampa (monitoring 5,000 national newspapers, 20,000 Italian-language sites and 150 national radio and TV channels, excluding social media) and the Piepoli Institute’s “Food and Nutrition”, on a sample of 500 people representative of the Italian population, at the opening of the Turin Food Journalism Festival, staged May 31 and June 1 in Turin.
L’Eco della Stampa of the Press highlights, meanwhile, how the web is the leading channel for disseminating information on the topic of food, with an average of 60,000 publications in the past year, with print media in second place with 30,000 releases. But also how important events are for talking about the topic. Vinitaly, as mentioned, despite the focus on wine, is by far the event that gets people talking the most about food, moving a volume of 18,000 articles and publications, followed by Cibus with nearly 13,000, then Macfrut, and Sigep, above 5,000, and then at a distance, come Identità Golose, Milan Wine Week with nearly 2,000, and again, in the top 10, Cantine Aperte, Slow Fish, Sana Salone del Biologico, and Turin Food Journalism Festival.
The quantitative survey shows that when it comes to wine and food, by far the most cited region is Piedmont, with 1,320 mentions, ahead of Tuscany with 962, and Sicily with 940, by a span followed by Lombardy with 937, and then Marche (677) and Puglia (635). But L’Eco della Stampa also analyzed the theme “diet” in relation to other keywords such as wellness, sports, health, diseases and eating disorders. In all these cases, the Mediterranean Diet is the most cited. Again, looking at health themes, the most cited issues are obesity and alcohol abuse, with peaks around the world days dedicated to these issues, while there is very little mention of serious issues such as anorexia and bulimia. Obviously, the research points out, since February 2022 with the war there is a surge of news related to the issue of wheat and high prices, and it is no coincidence that in the monitoring of the most active journalists (looking at keywords such as Food and nutrition), in the first places there are a few specialists, with the most cited signature being Fiorenza Sarzanini, deputy editor of “Il Corriere della Sera”.
But if this is press monitoring, the Piepoli Institute directly probed the moods of Italians, starting with the fears generated by these times. And if the most present is that of the widening war between Russia and Ukraine, closely followed by that of high prices in the shopping cart, even more so than bills. In particular, when asked which price increases have hit family finances the hardest, Italians say bread (34 percent), pasta (33 percent), vegetables (27 percent), fruit (22 percent), oil (19 percent), then milk (6 percent), sugar (5 percent) and eggs (2 percent), while the rise in wine worries less than 1 percent of Italians. That thinking about a week’s vacation devoted entirely to gastronomy, as a favorite destination indicate Tuscany (20%), ahead of Sicily (15%) and Puglia (10%).
Another interesting aspect that emerges from the Piepoli Institute survey is that according to 67% of Italians, information about food is judged positively in quantity and quality, although there is a 20% of the population for whom one should talk even more about food and less about politics, and a 9%, especially among young people, who think that one should talk more about food and less about sports. A figure that coincides with L’Eco della Stampa survey, however, is that on the food-related pathology most feared by Italians: in first place, by far, is obesity indicated by 48% of people, then alcohol abuse at 17%, and then at distance anorexia (9%) and bulimia (5%).
“Cross-referencing data from a qualitative survey with careful media monitoring work”, says Pietro Biglia of “L’Eco della Stampa”, “has made it possible to describe the current socio-economic context of our country on a topic of such enormous social relevance as food. The job of companies like ours is not only to record what is published, but to analyze the language and behavior and interpret the sentiment”. “Italian public opinion has a strong degree of food awareness”, says Livio Gigliuto, vice-president of the Piepoli Institute, “this is due to tradition but also thanks to Italian food information that Italians promote with flying colors, believing that the vast majority of them talk enough about food in our country”.

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