Rimini, 9th June 2021 . Summer and gelato: recovery is here. This is reported by the Observatory of Sigep (IEG - Italian Exhibition Group´s International Trade Show of Artisan Gelato, Pastry, Bakery and the Coffee World, the sector´s leader, from 22nd to 26th January 2022 at Rimini Expo Centre).
For Claudio Pica, secretary general of the Associazione Italiana Gelatieri (Italy´s association of gelato makers) and national vice president of FIEPET Confesercenti, ´With its excellent ingredients, products´ prominent healthy aspect and the sociality of consumption, from North to South in an Italy that is almost entirely a Ôwhite zone´ as far as Covid restrictions are concerned, gelato is the symbol of the country´s desire for recovery. With a first estimate, national consumption has risen by 14% since the beginning of the year, with peaks connected with the weather boosting Calabria and Roma, with +20% and +22% respectively.´
Estimates that restore optimism in a sector that in 2019, counting gelato parlours also producing their produce and those that were only points of sale, in Italy had over 39,000 enterprises with an annual turnover of 4.2 billion euros and a direct workforce of 75,000.
As far as trends are concerned, the Sigep Observatory took a ´snapshot´ of the gelato of the summer of 2021 that features a real ´SPA´ for the palate.
Rimini´s Sonia Balacchi, who precisely at Sigep won the title of World Pastry Champion and was also the only female professional nominated in 2015 to represent Italy at the UN building, for the ItalianFoodFestival, as Ambassadress of Italian Pastry, proposes a collection of individual portions of gelato, ideal for both ´street food´ and ´home delivery´. ´They´re called ÔNatura Sandwiches, Balacchi explains, ´studied with ingredients I produce on my family´s farm with renewable energy. We have the Gold Natura Sandwich, with apricot, orange and saffron biscuit bread with Kefir mango, pineapple, maca and candied ginger gelato filling; the Purple Natura Sandwich, with wild berry biscuit bread with Kefir red grape, beetroot, black carrot and goji berry gelato filling; the Green Natura Sandwich, lactose-free and vegan, with lemon and banana biscuit bread with kiwi, avocado, apple and moringa sorbet filling.´
Along the same lines, Friuli master Giancarlo Timballo, president of the Gelato World Cup, states, ´It´s no longer the time to search for new flavours at all costs, but rather to follow tradition and the rhythm of nature. We work for short periods with dandelion, which in Friuli is a typical plant of the area, and now it´s the time for elderberry. But we also use dog rose or poppy petals, then its time for sea buckthorn and juniper. We firstly process the petals, then the berries and with the infusions we prepare the gelato´s Ôstreaking´. This has led to poppy-streaked dandelion gelato. With these ingredients, which require patience and careful work, I have interpreted my attention to the health aspects of gelato for years.´
There is also news for consumers who pay increasing attention to the list of ingredients.
Eugenio Morrone, a gelato maker from Calabria who now resides in Rome and was crowned world gelato champion at Sigep 2020, says, ´To avoid gatherings, outside my shop, I´ve displayed my book of ingredients - simple combinations that arouse curiosity. Currently, out of 25 flavours, 13 are sorbets and 12 creams. Water, sugar and pistachio: it´s simple and it works. I visit greenhouses for the basil that I combine with Sorrento lemons and cinnamon. I also buy sage, with I combine with Granny Smith apples and pineapple, which I use with a high solid content and a texture similar to the creams. Then there´s peppermint, which I process cold. Classics such as coffee and zabaglione remain Romans´ favourites. But there is also the exploit with raw almonds, which shares first place with pistachio and cacao mass.´
So what is the trend for the summer of 2021? ´In this phase´, sums up Matteo Figura, Director, Foodservice Italia with NPD Group, ´as in all post-recession phases, consumers tend to rationalize and choose carefully. There´s a desire for recovery and wellbeing. The concept is ÔI deserve something beautiful and good´, without any guilty feelings, with the situation we are going through, which still has elements of economic uncertainty. Moreover, gelato represents consumers´ bond of loyalty with gelato parlours, which are the places in which family flavours are found, to which we are strongly attached.