Sigep Observatory Christmas, Festive Cake Consumption on the Upswing, Boom in Online Sales for Artisan Panettone

Rimini The Christmas edition of the Sigep Observatory for Italian Exhibition Group’s International Artisan Gelato, Pastry, Bakery and Coffee Show, whose 45th edition will be held at Rimini Expo Centre from 20th to 24th January 2024, is back in perfect time.

The Sigep Christmas 2023 Observatory records a recovery in dolce bakery consumption, which, with 3.3 billion products served (+1.4% compared to 2022), is almost at pre-pandemic levels. This is the trend that emerges in the CREST data by Circana – leader in consumer behaviour analysis and interpretation – in view of the forthcoming Christmas holidays. A Christmas that, from the point of view of consumption, is expected to remain in line with that of last season, as confirmed by five great Master Pastry Chefs.


Circana’s figures show a positive 2023 for “out of home”: up until September – the latest data available in the study conducted on a quarterly basis – spending is expected to be around 50.7 billion euro with an average of 4.56 euro per purchase; a growth of 11.9% compared to the same period last year. Also positive are the 11.1 billion “visits”, or rather, the number of people entering and leaving food-related businesses, including delivery, with an increase of 5.5%.

«“Out of home” consumption in Italy is growing compared to last year, even if growth rates are slowing,» says Matteo Figura, head of Foodservice for Circana Italia. «Attendances are stabilising at pre-pandemic levels, while in regard to the amounts spent, it should be remembered that growth is also due to the general rise in prices.»

The consumption of dolce bakery products fits into this context. «The recovery in recent years is evident: we are currently at 3.3 billion products and it won’t be long before we return to the 3.5 billion of 2019. A dolce bakery product is acquired in 25.3% of “out of home” visits,» concludes Figura. «This propensity to consume has been stable over the years: in order to close the gap with 2019 levels, we need to recover the visits that less mobility outside the home has caused, especially on occasions such as breakfast that drive the dolce bakery sector.»


Salvatore De Riso, from Salerno, president of AMPI (Italian Pastry Masters Academy): “Boom of the half-kilo panettone”

«Christmas orders are going well. Panettone, which we offer in 16 flavours, is still “King” and we have seen a boom for the half-kilo size: all 10,000 pieces that we usually estimate have already been sold. Why? I think people want to spend a little less, especially since the notorious increase in interest rates and prices in general. In any case, traditional panettone commands: out of 1,000 pieces of our 16 flavours, the classic version still accounts for 30%. As for online, during the pandemic, as Christmas approached, orders exploded from 1,500 to 12,000 and we are still at around 10,000 now with the bulk of e-commerce occurring right around this time.»

Iginio Massari, from Brescia, president of APEI (Ambassadors of Italian Pastry Excellence): “Online sales now represent 20% of the total.”

«Christmas is always Christmas, and so even those who say “I’m not buying any more presents”, at the last moment, always come back. As a trend, we have seen a strong interest in the 50th anniversary panettone launched in 2021, with candied orange peel, sultanas, honey, vegetable fibre, orange and lemon dough and vanilla pods, which we put back on sale with a quota of around 10,000 units. In terms of consumption, we are roughly in line with last year. On the other hand, online sales are increasing and now account for 20% of the total,»

Silvia Federica Boldetti (Pastry Queen 2016, pastry chef and consultant): “The consumer is increasingly attentive and aware”

«I see specific trends for this Christmas too. First and foremost, although it’s true that online is growing, in the pastry world, the consumer likes to taste, so in-store sales are still predominant. On the new entry side, there has been much talk of a square-shaped panettone, which stems from a typical Christmas need, namely to create something different just to get noticed. The customer who chooses artisan panettone often selects particular flavours, trusting in the creations of great pastry chefs. Also because we are talking about an increasingly attentive consumer, who is more interested in the wholesomeness of the product and the label than the aesthetics.»

Alessandro Dalmasso from Turin (President of the Coupe Du Monde de la Pâtisserie club): “Price list up less than 1%, but we have all suffered price increases”

«The trend is always the same: give more value to the ingredient with a maniacal search for presentation rather than finding new variants. Sales in the last month and a half have been fluctuating: they go up during the holidays but weekly standards are slowing down. As far as we are concerned, we have set a minimal price increase of around 0.5% which unfortunately, is bound to rise. Luckily, orders from companies have been confirmed: in 30 years of experience, I know that consumers also get caught up in the Christmas effect, especially the half-kilo or 750-gram panettone. Lastly, there is a great demand for Christmas mignon pastries, one of our great must-haves.»

Roberto Rinaldini, from Rimini (member of Relais Dessert International and judge at Sigep): “The new entry is the Beatrice panettone to accompany the classic Dante”

«The new entry this Christmas is the Beatrice panettone, a classic panettone with sultanas, orange peel and an aromatic mix of citrus fruits inside: orange, lemon and Sicilian mandarin, topped with a crunchy almond and hazelnut glaze. Other new ideas I would like to highlight are two types of nougat: the white one we make with pistachio, hazelnuts and cherries, and the gianduia chocolate version with hazelnuts and orange peel. While the jewel in our crown are our chocolate Christmas “themes”: like the chocolate merry-go-round with handmade characters assembled in a super artisan way. Online sales continue to grow, accounting for 25% of the entire production.»


Dates: 20-24 January 2024; Organizer: Italian Exhibition Group SpA; edition: 45th; frequency: annual; event: international trade show; entry: trade only; info: