AFTER CLOSING 2021 WITH AN IMPRESSIVE RECOVERY, IN WHICH EUROPEAN SALES GREW TO €8.7 BILLION (+25%), THE ARTISANAL GELATO SUPPLY CHAIN IS LOOKING FORWARD TO THE NEW YEAR, GETTING READY TO OFFICIALLY KICK OFF A NEW SEASON OF CONES AND TUBS TO MARK THE TENTH ANNIVERSARY OF GELATO DAY ON 24th MARCH.
One of the world’s foodstuffs with the highest number of different flavours, Italian consumption of artisanal gelato in 2021 amounted to around 2.8 kilos per person. The embodiment of craft skills and creativity, artisanal gelato is enjoyed far and wide all over the planet by people of all ages. In addition, it also represents excellence in terms of quality and food safety, and, it is no coincidence that it is the only foodstuff to which the European Parliament has ever dedicated a day – European Artisanal Gelato Day, which will be celebrating its tenth anniversary on 24thMarch. The perfect opportunity to pay tribute to a supply chain which has achieved a turnover of €8.7 billion, employing over 300,000 staff at more than 65,000 points of sale in Europe alone.
GELATO IN FIGURES IN ITALY AND THE REST OF EUROPE. Despite the setback caused by the pandemic (turnover fell 35% in 2020), the supply chain bounced back in 2021 with a 25% upturn, almost completely regaining lost ground, as revealed by estimates from the SIGEP Monitoring Centre. Indeed, the positive trend was felt most in the summer of 2021, with consumption driven mainly by domestic tourism in the major countries, such as Italy, Germany and Spain, and peaks due to the high temperatures that sustained consumption in Central and Southern Italy. There is expected to be a further upturn in tourist numbers in 2022, fuelling optimism among European craft gelato makers, who have shared the tricks of the trade built up over the years, combining tradition with innovation, creativity with technical expertise, and quality ingredients with state-of-the-art equipment.
Artisanal gelato is now a global product, in which Europe has for years taken on the lead role. Even though gelato parlors can be found in 76 countries around the world, Europe is well ahead of the pack, in terms both of numbers of outlets (around 65,000) and of consumption of artisanal gelato. Though led by Italy, Germany, Spain and Poland, figures are rising in other nations, such as Austria, France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Italy stands out in terms of turnover (€2.8 billion in 2019, €1.85 billion in 2020 and €2.3 billion in 2021) and numbers of artisanal gelato outlets (36,000 gelato parlours, patisseries and bars serving gelato), with the highest concentration of gelaterias being in Lombardy (11.2%), followed by Tuscany (9.3%) and by Sicily and Emilia-Romagna on 8.4%.
Italian leadership also involves the sector of gelato ingredients and semi-finished products, which, according to the SIGEP Study Centre, is made up of 65 companies generating total turnover of €1.8 billion (800 millions of which is made up of semi-finished products for gelato). Not to mention the gelato industry’s huge impact on the agri-food sector, purchasing about 220,000 tons of milk, 64,000 tons of sugars, 50,000 tons of fresh and dried fruit and other raw materials, often made up of top-quality smaller-scale Italian agricultural products such as pistachios from Bronte on the slopes of Mount Etna (where 1,500 tons, almost half of Bronte’s annual production, are purchased to be turned into pistachio gelato), or hazelnuts from Piedmont (where ingredients producers buy up around 1,800 tons of shelled Piedmontese hazelnuts every year), almonds from Sicily or lemons from Sorrento.
Not to be forgotten is the sector of machines and equipment for artisanal gelato, in which Italy is once again in the forefront, exporting over 70% of production: according to ACOMAG – National Association of Ice Cream Machine, Furnishings, and Equipment Manufacturers, thanks to the strong restart in 2021 the sector was close to the results of the pre-pandemic, with a turnover of 500 million euros and 1,300 employees in Italy alone.
DELIVEROO. As the habit of buying food online has become established, artisanal gelato is also enjoying increasing success when it comes to home deliveries. By 2020, the European food delivery market had already climbed to a total of 13.8 billion US dollars. And Deliveroo, the leading online food delivery platform, has confirmed, for the second year running, its support for European Artisanal Gelato Day, taking part through its partner gelato parlours and running an information campaign about this much-loved product. According to data published by Deliveroo, the main Italian cities for gelato orders per head of population are Ferrara, Parma and Gorizia, followed by Domodossola, Terni, Carpi, Modena, Sanremo, Pisa and Pavia. So what flavours do Italians order? In the last quarter of 2021, salted caramel (up 112%), fior di latte (+95%), croccante della nonna – a caramel cream with crunchy almonds – (+85%), tiramisu, liquorice, biscuit, stracciatella Grand Cru, Nutella, white chocolate and Bacio all showed positive trends.
COUNTDOWN TO THE 10th EUROPEAN ARTISANAL GELATO DAY As we await the great celebrations marking the 10th European Artisanal Gelato Day on 24th March, which will officially kick off the 2022 season, craft gelato and its makers will be starring at the 43rd edition of SIGEP, the Italian Exhibition Group’s International Hand-crafted Gelato, Pastry, Chocolate, Bakery and Coffee Fair, to be held at the Rimini Exhibition Centre from 12th to 16thMarch. On this occasion, Artglace will be turning the spotlight on the tenth edition of Gelato Day and awarding a prize to Silvia Chirico, owner of the Tenuta Chirico gelato parlour in Ascea (near Salerno), who created the official recipe for Dolce Sinfonia, 2022’s Flavour of the Year, as well as toTaila Semeraro from Gelateria Ciccio in the main square in Ostuni, in Puglia, Luca Coccè from Gelateria Peccati di Gola in Gallarate, Lombardy and Andrea Lunardon from Gelateria Temptations in Soave, near Verona, in other words the three gelato-makers who won the 2021 video contest, where last year gelato artisans from all over Europe were invited to make a short video opening up their workshops and revealing the secrets of how to make Mantecado, 2021’s Flavour of the Year.
The video contest was such a success that Artglace decided to run it again in 2022, calling on Europe’s gelato-makers to express all their creativity and skill using chocolate, hazelnuts, fresh ricotta and figs in a rum syrup – the ingredients in the official recipe for Dolce Sinfonia – by making a short 90-second video showing how to prepare Flavour of the Year, which will be taking centre stage at the tenth anniversary Gelato Day (full rules available at www.gelato-day.com).
Gelato parlours throughout Italy and Europe have been invited to take part in the contest to decide the recipe for 2022’s Flavour of the Year Dolce Sinfonia (Sweet Symphony) and to take part in the 2022 edition of Gelato Day by signing up at www.gelato-day.com and posting all of the events planned for the 24th March 2022.
All of the updates you might need about the tenth edition of Gelato Day can be found on the www.gelato-day.comwebsite and on the official Gelato Day pages on Facebook (@24MarzoEuropeanGelatoDay), Instagram (@Gelato_Day) and YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/c/GelatoDay).