Tuesday, 06 December 2022


• A ´family´ Christmas with greater focus on consumption and quality artisanal products is the macro-trend according to five Master pastry chefs at Sigep
• Massari sees the classic panettone or the chocolate variant topping the bill. A gourmet version inspired by PanVita for Rinaldini, extra-luxury for De Riso, linked to the territory for Dalmasso; always with natural raw materials, as recommended by Balacchi
• Purchase-conscious consumers rewarding artisanal products: orders have been increasing on the Master chefs´ online stores since November


Rimini, 6th December 2022 – A choice of simple ingredients and traditional, well-recognisable flavours that go from the palate straight to the heart: desserts will be going back to basics this coming Christmas. More intimate festivities in an unstable context due to the costs of raw materials for confectionery and the energy needed to process them, urging consumers to re-savour the certainties of Italian pastry tradition at the table and to bet in advance with online orders. This is the trend that emerges in a survey by Sigep Observatory on the sentiment of five master pastry chefs who have always been linked to Italian Exhibition Group´s international event dedicated to artisan gelato, pastry, chocolate, bakery and coffee, scheduled to take place from 21st to 25th January at Rimini Expo Centre.

No drop in consumption nor any noticeable growth is expected between now and Christmas. Turnover is forecast to be in line with 2021 and not higher than 2019. «In terms of spending,» explains Matteo Figura, Director Foodservice Italy at The NPD Group, «the out-of-home food market will continue to grow, driven by rising prices. In June 2022, it had already reached the same levels as June 2019 and kept growing throughout the summer. Missing from the list is the target group of millennials who go out but do not consume or consume less food outside the home than before Covid. According to NPD Group´s CREST data, the total out-of-home food market shows a -12% drop in out-of-home moments compared to a -30% drop regarding millennials compared to 2019. Although breakfast is catching up, in the near future we expect to see things settle due the decline in purchasing power.»
«During this year´s Christmas festivities, Italians are focusing first and foremost on quality. After having spent the last two Christmases with the sword of Damocles of the pandemic, the desire to meet up and pamper themselves with the flavours of pastry products is even stronger than inflation. Despite the fact that the prices of these products are, on average, higher than those of mass consumption, people are not willing to sacrifice quality. They may buy fewer products but of a higher standard. An approach that bodes well for the future of a sector that has been in great difficulty over the last two years and that, in order to stay on its feet, can only focus on quality and tradition,» is the sentiment of Alessandro Cavo, President of the Association ´Gli Storici´ Caffè e Ristoranti Storici d´Italia (Historical Italian Cafes and Restaurants), a member of Fipe-Confcommercio.
A scenario echoed by the Associazione Italiana Gelatieri (Italian Gelato Makers Association), which reported a positive summer season trend that boosted consumption in cities of art. «We only stopped eating gelato a few days ago,» says Claudio Pica, Secretary General of the Italian Gelato Makers Association, «with an increase in consumption of between 18 and 20 % in central and southern Italy until October. A drop in family consumption is expected at Christmas. People will certainly be more careful. An imbalance in price increases of raw materials, sugar, flour and milk first and foremost, causing production price increases of up to 20 % for the high-end product and as low as 12% in the medium range, which confectioners are taking on themselves for the moment.»

«Among the many Christmas offers,» says Iginio Massari, President of APEI, Pastry Ambassadors of Italian Excellence, «what people really care about is experiencing Christmas with its symbols and rituals. A trend that can be seen in the four types of panettoni that we are offering this year. The traditional, the choice of 70% of consumers, with Calabrian candied orange peel and sultanas, topped with amaretto-flavoured icing. And then the pistachio version with candied peel, cream and pistachio icing, white chocolate, sugar granules and pistachios. And the chocolate version with candied orange peel, dark and milk chocolate fragments and amaretto-flavoured icing. Last but not least is the cocoa and chocolate panettone, with cocoa-flavoured dough enriched with dark chocolate chips, cream, acacia honey and orange. The quintessential Christmas cake can be eaten with a vanilla, rhubarb or liqueur-flavoured Chantilly cream but, if it is good, you can easily do without. The important thing is the end result: the simplicity, surprise and serenity of a cake that engages and makes people´s eyes sparkle. 70% of our customers have already ordered it, mostly online since mid-November.»

«We have two new entry panettone cakes,» explains Roberto Rinaldini, a member of Relais Dessert International. «The first is a reinterpretation of the PanVita dessert with starred chef Enrico Bartolini, who created it. It is an 850-gram cake flavoured with orange, elderflower syrup and honey, with cubes of pistachio marzipan and candied orange peel, accompanied by Marsala zabaglione sauce. The other novelty is a solidarity panettone, in collaboration with the Rise Together Foundation to help disadvantaged children and young people in need of treatment or therapy. This panettone features sultanas, cubes of Sicilian orange and candied citron. This Christmas, we are aiming for essentiality in the choice of raw materials to offer products, even if gourmet, that everyone will like. As far as orders are concerned, thanks also to our new website, we have recorded an 800% increase compared to other years. As for order volumes in our shops, on Saturdays and Sundays we invoice four times more than the rest of the week. People want to spend but the important thing is to know how to guide their choices: words and creativity are the ingredients for dessert.»

«Christmas is the holiday of traditions par excellence,» says Salvatore De Riso, President of AMPI, the Italian Master Pastry Chef Academy, «and in Campania, the Christmas table bears the colours of devilish struffoli, the crunchiness of roccocò and the spicy aroma of mostaccioli. Of course, we also busy ourselves with the most famous leavened products with no less than sixteen different versions of panettone: from the most classic, faithful to the Milanese recipe, to the most elaborate, which we are proposing again this year in a limited edition laminated in gold. New for 2023 are the Neapolitan Passion and the intense dark chocolate panettone cakes. Packaged in a gift tin, the former comes with a Vietrese ceramic starfish and is filled with candied orange peel, Australian sultanas, Vesuvius apricots, Diamante citron and dried white Cilento figs, while the latter is a sumptuous dark chocolate mixture filled with Guanaja chocolate cream. The most popular, however, is still the limoncello panettone, probably because it interprets this typical northern Italian cake with the citrus flavours of our Amalfi Coast lemons.»

«The family getting together, games, surprises, memories that are built and brought back through the flavours of home cooking. These suggestions and the strong link to the Piedmont region where I live, are what guided me to create my latest panettone proposals,» explains Alessandro Dalmasso, President of the Coupe Du Monde de la Pâtisserie Club for Italy. «This is how the Pangianduia came about, which incorporates a Piedmontese hazelnut puree, pieces of dark chocolate and a soft and salty gianduia coating in the dough, and the Panettone Piemontese, which adapts one of our typical recipes, namely stuffed peaches: the chocolate is in the mixture, the candied peaches are from Saluzzo, all topped with amaretto icing and sweet and salted almonds. Alongside our leavened pastries, which are experiencing a real boom, we will also be offering a selection of mignons, our speciality, with a Christmas theme. An assortment featuring a great variety of flavours. One kilo provides 90 different tastes inspired in appearance by the typical symbols of this festive period: little trees, small gift boxes and baubles, to amaze the eyes and palate, offering an extra opportunity to enjoy the typical conviviality of this magical time of year.»

«There is no Christmas table without the classic or chocolate panettone with its citrus aromas, spices and seasonal fruit,» says Sonia Balacchi, the first Pastry Queen at Sigep in 2012. «The difference lies in the quality of the ingredients and the art of those who make them. In my case, increasingly natural and environmentally friendly raw materials result in a highly customised product, which makes each creation unique, just as unique as the moment of sharing an artisan panettone with the people we love. And I believe that, particularly for this Christmas, when consumers will be paying more attention to what they buy, there will be more sharing experienced at home, perhaps concentrating the big celebrations in a single meal. With a few quality products instead of cheaper ones. I always recommend reading labels carefully and making calibrated purchases, thus rewarding producers who value the territory and work ´according to nature´. At the moment, we haven´t noticed any variations in orders, which already started to come in some time ago.»

The Christmas tradition also includes a leading role for chocolate. Iginio Massari is offering variations between dark, milk, triple-chocolate, pistachio and coffee creams, and assorted pistachio, hazelnut and almond pralines, also appreciated as gifts. Chocolate can be played with to create shapes reminiscent of the festive season. Roberto Rinaldini has gianduia nougat with hazelnuts and candied orange peel, or honey nougat with almonds, pistachios and cranberries in his catalogue as well as Christmas cookies glazed with vanilla-scented chocolate, salted caramel, hazelnuts and pistachio or chocolate and walnuts. He is also offering a hint of savoury with a mix of dried fruit spiced with ginger, but on the gourmet encounter theme, there are also savoury chocolates with gorgonzola, pecorino, stracchino and basil or goat´s cheese and pistachio. Still on the subject of evergreens, for Sonia Balacchi the most popular include chocolate Christmas trees and cream chocolates, harking back to Neapolitan tradition. Conceived for Christmas, but also sure to have an effect at New Year´s Eve dinner, are Salvatore De Riso´s chocolate filled horns; coral red as per tradition and available in two sizes: the small version, sold in a pack of seven pieces, ideal as a gift or as place markers, and the large version, weighing 1.3 kilos, for a centrepiece of good wishes.

FOCUS ON SIGEP E A.B. Tech Expo 2023
Dates: 21-25 January 2023; Organization: Italian Exhibition Group SpA; editions: 44th Sigep and 7th A.B. Tech Expo; frequency: annual; event: international trade show; entry: for trade only; info: www.sigep.it

Head of media relation & corporate communication: Elisabetta Vitali; press office manager: Marco Forcellini;
international press office coordinator: Silvia Giorgi; media@iegexpo.it

Filippo Nani, filippo.nani@myprlab.it; Enrico Bellinelli, enrico.bellinelli@myprlab.it; mob. +39 392 7480967; Francesca Magnanini, francesca.magnanini@myprlab.it, mob. +39 338 691 0347; Giulia Lucchini, giulia.lucchini@myprlab.it; mob. +39 348 7853679

Italian Exhibition Group S.p.A., a joint stock company listed on Euronext Milan, a regulated market organised and managed by Borsa Italiana S.p.A., has, with its facilities in Rimini and Vicenza, achieved national leadership over the years in the organisation of trade shows and conferences. The development of activities abroad - also through joint-ventures with global or local organisers, in the United States, United Arab Emirates, China, Mexico, Germany, Singapore, Brazil, for example – now sees the company positioned among the top European operators in the sector.

This press release contains forecast elements and estimates that reflect the management´s current opinions (´forward-looking statements´), particularly regarding future management performance, realization of investments, cash flow trends and the evolution of the financial structure. For their very nature, forward-looking statements have a component of risk and uncertainty, as they depend on the occurrence of future events. The effective results may differ (even significantly) from those announced, due to numerous factors, including, only by way of example: food service market and tourist flow trends in Italy, gold and jewellery market trends, green economy market trends; the evolution of raw material prices; general macroeconomic conditions; geopolitical factors and evolutions in the legislative framework. Moreover, the information contained in this release does not claim to be complete, and has not been verified by independent third parties. Forecasts, estimates and objectives contained herein are based on the information available to the Company as at the date of this release.

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ITALIAN EXHIBITION GROUP SpA - Via Emilia 155, 47921 Rimini (Italy) - Registro delle imprese Rimini C.F./P.I. 00139440408 - Cap. Soc. 52.214.897 i.v. - Email: info@iegexpo.it - Credits