Italian F&B Import and Distribution: How Are They Changing?

30 Giugno 2022

The China-Italy Chamber of Commerce (CICC) together with our Food and Beverage Working Group (F&BWG) organized the webinar “Present and future of the Italian F&B import and distribution in China” on June 27th.

It is a fact that the Food & Beverage sector is evolving due to the current pandemic situation. However, what are the main problems in the import and distribution of Italian F&B and how could they be solved?

Italian experts in Hospitality highlighted the problems they are facing in this period along with hopes for the future and plans to restart a better and more successful service industry in China.

The webinar was opened by Cristina Corsini, Coordinator of the Food and Beverage Working Group (F&BWG) and CEO of Good Italy LTD, who introduced the Food and Beverage Working Group (F&BWG) and the main project under development: the F&BWG WeChat Mini Program.



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Here are some of the topics addressed by our experts during the webinar.

Q1:What are the main problems in the import and distribution of Italian food and beverage in China?

Some of the most representative Italian products have become very difficult or sometimes impossible to import, while the rising costs of transportation and sanitizing procedures (especially for cheese, meat, and seafood) end up making final prices much higher than what the customers are willing to pay. The long delays for disinfection and customs, along with a global lack of materials due to Covid-19, cause continuous delays throughout the whole production chain. Most businesses also report a lack of clear and complete information, while others are also having difficulties in interacting with the Chinese market and customers.


Q2:How have Covid-19 restrictions affected business and what strategies have companies implemented? 

Nowadays, online trades are popular in China so it’s important to take full advantage of them. For example, you can set up your own shop on different platforms such as DOUYIN, and also contact KOLs who could promote and sell your products.

With the help of KOLs, the business can grow significantly. This new approach required a major change in the business organization and a huge stock of products. The key to the strategy is to let the KOLs interact with the Chinese audience for us and be guarantees for the products. The advice is to focus on design and storytelling in order to generate information that can be easily used by KOLs.

Preparing substitutes for all key positions in a company in case someone gets Covid-19, especially for deliverers has also been a successful strategy; it is also important to focus on fewer products and smaller catalogues, quality over quantity, warehouse efficiency and speed of deliveries.


Q3:How do companies envision the future of import if the restrictions continue the same way as today?

Some Italian products are not part of the Chinese diet and it's hard to convince Chinese customers to try them out, but still there is much appreciation for our culture and traditional food. It seems to be a good time to promote Italian stuff despite the challenges. Despite the decrease in expats customers, those businesses that have been able to attract Chinese customers have survived. Promotion done by companies and institutions, local authorities and big groups as a network can help Chinese customers learn and understand our culture more than single companies could.


Special thanks to Massimiliano Bertotti, General Manager at IFB China, Diego Triboli, Owner of 昆明意滋味食品有限公司 SAPORE ITALIA F&B Ltd (Kunming), Francesco D'Aprile, Business Consultant Shareholder at CNIT New Frontiers Ltd (Shanghai), Piero Antonio Fiorito, Founder and Owner of Foodyi Nexus Asia Management Consulting & Trading Shanghai, Mattia Pinza, Zhuhai Pinto Food Co. Ltd, and the moderator of the panel discussion Edoardo Noce, Vice Coordinator of the F&BWG and Marketing Manager of Fabbri 1905.

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