Consumption outside the home, Ho.Re.Ca. stable demand is expected

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The Ho.Re.Ca market has not been able to keep up with inflation. Between May and December 2023, the turnover of supplies to hotels, restaurants and public establishments recorded a +7.6% against an inflation of 7.9% which led to a drop in volumes of four tenths of a point. These are the data processed by the Italgrob Study Center on Circana (formerly Iri) data on the beverage distributor panel presented during the “Consumption and scenarios in a changing Italy” sector congress which was held on the occasion of the International Ho.re.ca. meeting at the Italian Exhibition Group – Rimini Fair.

As regards 2024, operators expect demand to remain weak and with a significant reduction in inflation. The expected price increase is 3.5% and should have a stable trend but the mix of products sold should not increase the value. With these premises, the Study Center believes that the sales momentum seen in 2023 will not be replicated in 2024 with a limited drop in volumes but the picture, the scenario, becomes critical. Last year saw growth in carbonated drinks (4.4%), prosecco and sparkling wines (+4.1%), spirits (+4%), fruit-based drinks (+1.8%) and finally with wine (+1.4%). Sales decreased for mineral waters (-1%), beer (-1.3%), aperitifs and vermouth (-2.3%) and non-carbonated drinks and soft drinks (-3.9%)

«For Italians, going out is a booster of subjective well-being and quality of life in general. The reference market is alive and dynamic but evolves due to endogenous and exogenous dynamics, so we find ourselves faced with a different consumer – explains Antonio Portaggio, president of Italgrob -. Consequently, our companies must adapt to this change in order to provide the expected responses. It is essential, therefore, to start a process of dialogue with industry, institutions and trade associations with a view to accompanying the ongoing transition through the medium of information and training. Analyzing and making people understand the world that exists behind a banal bottle on a restaurant table represents that fine line that marks the future of Ho.re.ca. distribution.” The world of Ho.Re.Ca. It has 3,800 companies with 60 thousand employees and a turnover of 17 billion and is linked to tourism and consumption outside the home. Their reference market is that of public establishments, around 330 thousand, which employ 1.4 million workers, around 6.1% of the total employed.

During the meeting, the topic of the sugar and plastic tax which should come into force in July was also discussed. «Measures are needed that aim to lower taxes and bureaucracy, thus supporting a market, that of non-alcoholic drinks, which risks a further decline, after a flat 2023 and a 2024 which promises to be along the same lines due to the reduced purchasing power of consumers – remarks Giangiacomo Pierini, president of Assobibe, a Confindustria association that represents the producers of soft drinks in Italy -. Businesses need to know what to expect in July, when the possible introduction of new taxes will increase the inflationary flare-up on prices with a consequent drop in sales and repercussions on all links in the supply chain. We need clear signals immediately. Amendments on these issues, as well as on other excise duties, were included in the Milleproroghe but the Government did not consider it a priority, unlike other issues on which important resources were immediately found. If we need to go to the streets we will go to protect our entrepreneurs. We have asked the Prime Minister and the Ministers concerned for an ad hoc table on the sugar tax, we hope there is sufficient sensitivity. Businesses are waiting for answers.”



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