In Europe the total amount of the economic turnover of food industry was 950 billion Eur in 2010. The food industry in Italy represents one of the most important manufacturing sectors with a turnover of 124 billion Eur. In 2010 the Italian agro-food system in its wider meaning of agriculture and food industry, has reached a global annual value of 250 billion €, of which only 2% from agriculture. On the base of its six major sub-systems, namely the air, the steam, the motor and pumps, the compressed air, the cooling and refrigeration process, the heating and lighting of buildings, the agro-food industry requires energy for heating, cooling, electricity and transport. In 2005 in Europe-15, the final energy consumption of the agrofood system was 1,073,604 TJ. However, in 2011, the Italian food industry, accounted for an energy final budget of 2.9 Mtoe, according to a total final energy consumption of the agro-food system (agriculture and food industry) of 16.43 Mtoe. In the last years, the globalization process and the evolving of habits and lifestyle of consumers in demand for new food and way of consumption have changed profoundly the agro-food industry. These changes contributed to develop a big mass retailer sector, with a strong increase in energy demand of food chains. This paper briefly illustrates the energy consumption, and after which it discusses some of the measures, policies and technologies to improve both the energy efficiency and the effective use of energy in the agro-food system.
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