U.S. prune exports to Italy showed strong growth in both volume (31 percent) and value (22 percent) in 2020-21. By targeting key media outlets and using high-visibility activities, California Prune Board (CPB) was able to grow sales in Italy, an export market of huge significance for the industry as it accounts for 5 percent of annual global exports. USDA Market Access Program and Agricultural Trade Promotion marketing support, aligned with intelligent, inventive and incisive programs, has seen this market move from decline to growth over the past 3 years.
From April – June 2021, CPB collaborated with Cotto e Mangiato, a prime-time TV cooking show on Italia 1 Channel. This show reached a wide consumer audience of 4 million and saw California Prunes featured in 8 episodes of the show, with well-known chefs using California Prunes as the hero ingredient in the recipes.
Research conducted by CPB showed that the vast majority of consumers in Italy consider “quality,” “taste,” and “health benefits” above all else when making a purchase decision, and Italians rated California Prunes above all other origins in these categories.
USDA export programs and the funding they’ve provided have been vital to CPB members for more than a decade. In just the last two years, CPB has utilized federal dollars to help generate an additional $3.4 million in export value in Italy.