The lockdown of the HoReCa channel continues to affect the sector. Pre-sliced segment up by 21%, a positive trend expected to consolidate over time | Prosciutto di Parma 2020

The lockdown of the HoReCa channel continues to affect the sector. Pre-sliced segment up by 21%, a positive trend expected to consolidate over time | Prosciutto di Parma 2020


The pandemic has placed considerable strain on the sector and particularly on companies in the HoReCa channel: the prolonged lockdown of this segment and the difficulties of deli counters in large retail stores, especially during the first part of the lockdown, has led to a significant drop in sales with strong repercussions also on production. Possible trend reversal with reopening of restaurants.

Prosciutto di Parma closes 2020 with a marked reduction in production: about 8,700,000 hams produced, down 2.2%, while 7,800,000 pork legs were sent for processing, a 10% decrease compared to 2019.

The 2020 saw a general downturn in the dry-cured ham market. In this context, sales of Parma Ham in Italy in the modern distribution channel dropped by 5.6%, while exports weathered the crisis, at least partly, with a 3% drop and 2,500,000 exported Parma Hams.

The flow of exports showed a different trend depending on the business segment of the producing companies: those supplying the HoReCa channel saw a significant decrease in sales; those operating in the pre-sliced segment achieved extraordinary results. Although this segment recorded a 21% increase, it was unable to compensate for the overall decrease since the pre-sliced production represents only 10% of total Parma Ham sales.


The pandemic has undoubtedly accelerated a trend that has been underway for several years, namely, the growth of pre-sliced segment facilitated not just by the impact of the lockdown, but also by particularly low prices and the longer shelf-life of trays, a key aspect for the more distant countries.

This is a very important fact which we must, however, interpret in the context of a year of disruption, characterized by extraordinary market conditions; still, we certainly can no longer consider this segment a marginal one, especially abroad. Our goal will be to consolidate the brilliant results of the pre-sliced segment by continuing to invest and by promoting the retention of customers who have opted to buy Parma Ham pre-sliced packs.

At least in the first part, 2021 is expected to continue to be a difficult year; however, one can detect the first signs of recovery of demand which, with the reopening of restaurants and the hospitality sector, will hopefully lead to an increase in the currently not yet profitable wholesale prices.

Vittorio Capanna, President of the Parma Ham Consortium


The sector is also preparing to face the new challenges set by the European Green Deal and the related Farm to Fork strategy in order to relaunch the economy and make the European food system a global standard in terms of sustainability as well.



In 2020, 2,500,000 Parma Hams were exported, accounting for 29% of the total number of hams produced, with a turnover estimated at €260 million. Due to the great increase of the pre-sliced sector, the USA manage to weather the crisis, with 572,000 exported dry-cured hams (-5%) and are confirmed as the leading export market; on the other hand, Germany (-11%, 397,000 Parma Hams), France (-13%, 365,000 Hams), Japan (-11%) and Canada (-26%) all record a negative change. Very good results as far as the markets of central and northern Europe are concerned – in particular the Netherlands (+23%) – which benefited from the exceptional results of the pre-sliced segment and, among overseas countries, Australia shows a strong recovery (+45%).


Pre-sliced segment

About 2 million hams, accounting for 22.8% of the production of Parma Ham, were used for the pre-sliced market, for a total of 97 million packs. 29% of all sales are concentrated in Italy, while exports, which involve over 85 countries, absorb the remaining 71%.  All the key Parma Ham markets are growing: the Italian market recorded a 32% increase and exports grew by 17%. Following its extraordinary performance, with an increase of 46%, the United States overtakes Germany (12 million packs) and becomes the second largest pre-sliced market after the United Kingdom (18 million packs). Europe, including Italy, remains the most important end market, where 83% of the total pre-sliced product is sold.

Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma
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