The very first Italian gelato portal, for both gelato makers and gelato lovers
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Gelato, pizza and spaghetti are inextricably associated with Italy, and have helped to make this country famous around the globe. Italy has also been very successful at using this special product of ours to promote the country on the world’s markets.
The fortunes of hand-made gelato are on the rise and have been for some time. Just look at the figures.
According to the latest figures from Confartigianato, Italy has 36,970 gelato shops, which is around 10% up on five years ago. And the total number of staff working in gelato shopsamounts to around 150,000 in Italy and 100,000 abroad.
The highest number of gelato shops is in Lombardy with 6,093 workshops, followed by Veneto on 3,512 and Emilia Romagna on 3,273. However, the highest growth for gelato shopsbetween 2004 and the first quarter of 2009 was in central Italy where the total number of gelato shopsrose by 12.9% compared to a national average of 10.9%. The most dynamic regions are Lazio (+ 15.2%), Apulia (+ 13.8%), Piedmont (+13.3%), Sicily and Abruzzo (+12.0%).
A more reductive estimate, carried out by AIIPA, which counted only gelato shopswith their own workshop, thus excluding resellers of gelato, came up with around 29,000 gelato shopsin Italy, of which 9,000 sell only gelato, and the remaining 20,000 are gelato cafés or pastry shops. Outside Italy, the gelato shopconcept is catching on very quickly, and has already reached a figure of 20,000.
Moving onto consumption of gelato, over half (52.9%) is concentrated in the regions of Northern Italy, where the product sells more or less evenly throughout the year. By contrast, in the South, where 29.4% of Italian gelato is sold, sales occur mainly during the summer. Finally, Central Italy accounts for 17.6% of Italian gelato sales.
In 2009, it was estimated that the level of consumption in Italy as a whole was just over 360,000 tonnes, nearly 6 kg per head, in a business worth 2.5 billion euros, rising to 3.5 billion euros if we add in the machinery, fixtures and fittings sector, and the ingredients sector where Italy is a world leader.
In Italy, opening a new sales point is becoming slightly less common, and the same goes for the classic markets of the EU, whereas the number of outlets is growing strongly in the emerging nations. An important point to bear in mind is that gelato is gradually becoming less of a seasonal market, even though the peaks are still recorded at the hottest times of the year, when there are most tourists around.
To complete this overview, let’s take a look at the sector with creates furnishings and display cases for gelato shops– staffed by 1500 to 2000 employees, and with sales of around 300 million euros. The market for these small and large manufacturers shows similar trends to those seen in the ingredients and machinery segments.
Exports to the European Union see Germany top the table; exports to the United States are growing, as are those to Eastern Europe, the Far East and Australia.
The final step is for all of the players in the gelato supply chain to get together to form a system. This does not happen yet on a proper scale because the sector is made up of a myriad of tiny independent concerns, divided into so many different associations, because there is no consistent shared communication strategy and due to lack of trust. And yet, none of these gelato shopswould exist if it weren’t for the industry, and at the same time there would be no industry without all of those gelato shops. And hand-made gelato would not be considered a product “Made in Italy”, but would remain a niche product within the Italian food and drink system.
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