The organic customer in Italy tends to be less concerned with a product’s country of origin, according to Claire Farrell of Bord Bia, Milan Office. She said: “Confidence in organic production methods is a more important factor in determining purchasing decisions.”

Farrell also outlined that in 2013, 56% of Italian consumers purchased organic products on a frequent basis and 75% considered environmental impact before buying food.

In a recent Bord Bia market update she said: “Awareness of sustainable practices in food production, such as Km ’0’, water stress and carbon footprinting is moderate in comparison with the rest of Europe; 17% of Italians buy eco-friendly products and 88% of families separate their rubbish for recycling.”

Italy’s organic market is valued at €3.2bn and is the 4th largest organic market in Europe–after Germany (€6.6 million), France (€3.8 million) and the UK (€1.9 million)–and 6th in the world. In addition to the domestic market, Italy is also amongst the largest organic food exporters in the world, with export sales valued at €1.4bn. Italy has the largest number of certified organic producers in the EU (48,269) and is second to Spain for organic farmland.

In 2013, organic sales registered a 7.5% increase. According to FederBio, Italian consumers choose organic products because they have confidence that the ingredients have been selected on the basis of quality–and that they are pesticide and additive-free. Consumption is also specifically related to food safety and sustainability concerns.