Basic need potential
Italy has a population of over 57 million and does not have nearly enough food to feed the consumers. Italian consumers have found it acceptable to eat non-traditional foods, which indicates the need for imported food items. Therefore, exporting food items to Italy from the United States has become a very lucrative business. One of the emerging trends in Italy is prepared foods and ready to eat snacks. The traditional meals have been disappearing from the tables and being replaced with many types of frozen foods that can be purchased in some of the large supermarket chains throughout Italy.
With the economy increasing year after year in Italy more families have found it easier and cheaper to buy the non-traditional meals for consumption. Also, the patterns indicate more active life styles and the ability to eat snacks along with the lack of home cooked meals. Market trends indicate that the consumers of the imported products are becoming not only the younger generation but the more established generation as well.
Even though Italy has problems attracting foreign investment, the country does provide ample opportunities for investment. The governmental requirements can be a burden at times, but the government will work with foreign investors by providing some assistance in dealing with the various, and sometimes confusing, regulations.
Balance of Payments
Italy has had an account surplus since 1993. However, in 1999 the surplus reached 6.4 billion, which was down from the surplus, amount of 21.8 billion in 1998. Over the last three years the surplus has been decreasing but the national debt has also been decreasing, as the government is highly concentrated on reducing the debt. The Italian government has sold off some companies, which is also a factor in the depleting surplus.