Parmigiano Reggiano in Canada aims to double Exports

New agreements with the three leading retail chains. The export goal is 100,000 wheels in the next five years. From information to training sales staff

Reggio Emilia, 3 July 2015 - Doubling exports to Canada in the next five years, from 50,000 to 100,000 wheels: this is the objective of the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano, which returned from the Fancy Food Show in New York (the most prestigious international showcase for the agri-food sector) with significant new agreements with the three leading retail chains: Costco Canada, Loblaws and Sobey's.

"The Canadian market - said the Director of the Consortium, Riccardo Deserti - is the second largest non-EU market after the United States, with 50,000 wheels (about 2,000 tonnes) exported annually. In the last ten years our product has become much more widely known in this country, where Parmigiano Reggiano is considered the “king” of cheeses for its totally natural characteristics, the versatility of use related to its different maturation stages and the artisanal production processes, which are particularly appreciated in Canada."

"Although exports have been steadily increasing - says Deserti - they have been affected, until now, by the Canadian system of import quotas, which set a ceiling on cheese imports from the European Union. Now, however, completely new opportunities are opening up due, on the one hand, to the 2014 CETA free trade agreement (between the European Union and Canada) which establishes new quotas for imports of cheeses from the EU in the next few years (which should result in an additional 18,000 tonnes of European cheeses) and, on the other, to the agreements made by the Consortium at New York with the three great Canadian retail chains".

"The contacts we made with importers and quota holders - adds the director of the Consortium of Parmigiano Reggiano - not only confirm that ours is one of the most sought-after cheeses, but that we can aim at doubling exports, with 50,000 more wheels over five years".

"The common denominator of the agreements with the Canadian retail chains - continues Deserti - is the commitment to develop product knowledge, information about the distinguishing features of Parmigiano Reggiano and - of particular importance - the support to retail chains in the training of sales staff.

As positive news are already coming from Canada, with an increase of 10% in Parmigiano Reggiano exports in the first months of 2015, the Consortium confirms that "the direct involvement of the retail chains - as Giuseppe Alai explains - is the strategic element on which all exports will hinge and which supports the projects we have built with exports and importers". In the areas of the world with the greatest potential for development - Alai says in conclusion, referring to non-EU countries such as the USA, Canada, South American countries and China - we are seeing the fundamental importance of an approach which takes us into stores to speak directly with consumers and create new knowledge and awareness among the people who deal with the actual sales."