Parmigiano Reggiano cheese: quoted prices +12% in 2016 positive trends for domestic consumptions (+0.3%) and exports (+5.8%) new investments worth 15 million euros

Strong recovery - after the 2014-2015 downturn - of producer prices, especially in the second half of the year. Production growing by 5.1%, stock decreasing by 2.2%. More than 2,300 supervision activities and 2,500 tests on the product abroad

Bologna, 24 January 2017 - After a 2015 that will be remembered as one of the worst years of the decade (average quoted prices amounting to 7.65 Euro/kg, with only one lower precedent in 2008 that amounted to 7.40 Euro/kg), 2016 ended for Parmigiano Reggiano with a remarkable recovery.
The most significant change took place in the second half of the year, when producer prices rose from about 8 Euro/kg in June to 9.66 Euro/kg in December, thus closing the year with an average quoted price of 8.63 Euro/kg and a 12% increase compared to 2015.
"A considerable trend reversal - underlined the President of the Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium, Alessandro Bezzi - that continues in these first weeks of 2017 with quoted prices getting close to 10 Euro/kg".
"We are still far - Bezzi explained - from the average quoted prices of 2011 and 2012 (10.76 and 9.12 Euro/kg respectively), but current values combined with stable domestic consumption rates, a growing export flow and new investments allocated by the Consortium’s four-year plan give rise to overall conditions that can offer better prospects to the 3,000 breeders and 339 artisan dairies that make up our system and that suffered a very tough downturn in 2014 and 2015".
The data provided by President Bezzi and Director Deserti confirm these forecasts, starting from a domestic consumption trend that recorded a 0.3% increase, exports that reached +5.8% with more than 49,000 tons now accounting for 37% of the total, a percentage that has doubled over the last decade.
"In Italy - added Bezzi and Deserti - the positive outcomes of the new actions taken by the Consortium to support consumptions have become effective especially in traditional retail and direct sales (including online) by dairies, but also in Large Retail with essentially stable sales compared to a decrease of other PDO cheeses and a growth of similar non-PDO products by 2%".

Exports and New Prospects

Export data is definitely positive and sometimes surprising: USA and France, which has been the undisputed leading market for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese for many years, are competing to be number one export market. "If you consider the fact that in the United States and Canada we are experiencing a huge presence of imitation and "Italian sounding" products that mislead and damage both consumers and producers - underlined the Consortium’s President and Director - this growth is evidently very important and confirms the efficacy of the actions taken over the years with North American retailers and exporters, but also the awareness campaigns and reports of practices that in those countries are anyway considered legitimate and not pursued by the law, unlike what happens in the European Union".
Parmigiano Reggiano’s future prospects, driven by cautious optimism, are also influenced by the reduction of stocks in warehouses, which in November 2016 were 2.2% lower than in November 2015.

Production and New Investments for 15 Million Euros

"All these factors together, but especially the new resources that the Consortium will invest to support consumptions - Bezzi underlined - enable us to assess the 5.1% production rise recorded in 2016 with 3,469,000 wheels of cheese without too much concern.
"In the next four years - the Consortium’s President further explained - we will invest 15 million more in communication in Italy and abroad, and in supervision activities (in particular on grated cheese, to which new resources amounting to 1.25 million Euros have been allocated). This amount will be supplemented by the differentiated contributions linked to production plans (essentially a different contribution to be paid by those who do not respect the set production amounts), which reached 5 million Euros in 2016".

"In a context of rules established by production plans - which envisaged a 0.8% production increase for 2017 with respect to the reference quota of 1,762,000 tons of milk intended for processing. Our goal - Bezzi continued - is not that of “stiffening” production, but, on the contrary, of increasing sales in Italy and further strengthening projects with exporters to conquer new markets, as well as supervision activities and fights against imitations".

Supervision and fight against imitations and evocations

Also in this respect, 2016 showed significant values.
"The supervision of companies that are linked to Parmigiano Reggiano in different ways - underlined Director Riccardo Deserti - has given rise not only to a quality selection of all the wheels produced, but also to 2,325 supervision activities that included 1,980 points of sale, plus 650 Italian catering companies and the same number of retail companies in 20 foreign countries with more than 2,500 product tests".
"In the first ten months of 2016 in the European Union - Deserti continued - the Consortium implemented more than fourty out-of-court, administrative and reporting actions that led to ex officio actions on the part of the competent authorities in eight European countries: significant cases on the matter are the action taken at Sial in Paris and the block to the registration of the "Parmezza” trademark in Poland.
Five formal warnings were sent to five companies in the United States that marketed sauces, cheeses (some containing also cellulose), ready-to-eat dishes or packs of grated cheese deceptively inspired to Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, three were sent to Vietnam where the Consortium raised three objections against the registration of the names "Reggianto", "Parmesan" (denomination already in use by the Consortium) and even "Parmigiano Reggiano", preceded by the name of the producer. On web channels 390 actions were taken to remove offers and deceptive websites, whereas the Consortium opposed also the registration of evocative trademarks in Japan, Argentina (both with 2 attempts of false references to Parmigiano Reggiano), Bolivia, China, Colombia (attempt to register the name "Parmessano") and the Ukraine (warning about the registration of the name "Parmedzyano").
"This means - Deserti concluded - that the supervision system works, but that it is equally necessary to continue investing to stop these situations, not only to contrast unlawful activities, but also to create new space for the commercial success of Parmigiano Reggiano and, as a consequence, to promote income opportunities for producers".