Authentic Italian grocery brands are growing in popularity. In some categories, products made in Italy have enjoyed strong sales gains over the past year driven by a rise in the number of Australian shoppers spending more on these brands. Despite this, category share for these brands is still relatively low - highlighting significant opportunities for expansion.

Nielsen Homescan insights presented during Fine Food Australia and hosted by the Italian Trade Agency in Sydney last month, showed that across a competitive set of 10 categories, dollar sales for authentic Italian brands* increased by 7.4% in the 52 weeks ending 12 August 2017 versus a year ago - outpacing the combined growth of these categories (1.4%) and total grocery including fresh (2.5%).
*Brands made in Italy as determined by the Italian Trade Agency

In the past 12 months, 5.7 million Australian households (62.3%) purchased authentic Italian brands - up by 149,000 households on the previous year. These households are spending an average of $21.37 on these products annually - an increase of 4.7%.

Drilling down into the competitive set of 10 categories included in the analysis (refer to chart below), we see that authentic Italian brands in dry pasta, bottled sauce and tinned tomatoes already attract a notable proportion of Australian homes. However, a big dollar opportunity exists if these authentic Italian brands were to grow their consumer base in categories where their penetration is low including cheese, vinegar, biscuits, water, olive oil and coffee. In fact, if the number of households purchasing authentic Italian brands across these 10 categories increased by just 1% in the next year - this would equate to a $1.98 million opportunity.

Developing strategies that work to drive awareness for authentic Italian brands is key to attracting non-buyers into these categories. The analysis also reveals that appealing to lower income groups as well as non-English speaking households is important to driving growth of these brands. Expanding distribution within the major supermarket chains as well as exploring opportunities across other retail channels is also imperative to ensure these brands are reaching more buyers, more often.
By Sarah McKee, Director - Nielsen; and Sharon Chan, Senior Manager - Business Development, Nielsen