Parmigiano Reggiano: Exports to the USA rocket to + 74%. Caution of the Consortium: More protection is needed

Istat figures unprecedented in the first quarter. Alai: "Contingent reasons, we need to work on other elements of stability"

Reggio Emilia, 26 June 2015 - "These results are the outcome of intense work developed in the market that ranks first in terms of extra-EU exports for Parmigiano Reggiano and third in absolute terms. However, these results have been certainly influenced by the slowdown recorded in the last months of 2014 for the expectations of traders on the currency markets (so much so that the year ended with a - 8%) and a euro-dollar exchange rate, which has consolidated a position far more favourable to the American currency".

The President of the Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Consortium, Giuseppe Alai, is very satisfied, but cautious with the latest Istat data on the export of grana-style cheese to the United States, which shows a 74% increase in the first quarter 2015.

"An extraordinary result - underlines Alai - in a market which in 2014 absorbed almost 6,600 tons of Parmigiano Reggiano. On its own, it accounts for a share of 17.6% of total exports, preceded only by Germany (20.8% of Parmigiano Reggiano exports) and France (20%); it puts Parmigiano Reggiano top amongst exported hard paste Italian cheese to the USA, with nearly two-thirds of the total."

"The contingent factors that have determined this growth in the US - explains Alai - will influence the data in the month of April, but its effect will be felt in the following months, and this is why we are working on more certain and presumably more durable effects. The first of these is the US economic recovery that favours a relaunch of consumption and, in this context, the consolidation of a focus on Italian PDOs and completely natural products, like ours, that are occupying an increasingly relevant space in the food habits of Americans".

"Starting on Sunday - explains the Consortium's Director, Riccardo Deserti - we'll be at the Summer Fancy Food in New York (the world showcase of the agri-food industry par excellence, with over 2,000 exhibitors). Once again, we will have an opportunity to meet the most important US retail chains to reinforce all the actions that we are carrying out inside the points of sale in order to promote the knowledge and consumption of Parmigiano Reggiano".

"Especially this year - continues Deserti - the great event in New York will be more than an extraordinary commercial showcase, given that it is set against the backdrop of negotiations for the TTIP agreements between European Union and United States".

"Our goal - Alai and Deserti continue - is to make sure that the protection of the name Parmigiano Reggiano and even its translations is higher. At the same time, it will be necessary to step up efforts against misuse and misleading use of the name to protect US consumers, especially relating to the use of the Italian flag and geographical references that lead consumers to believe that products that are made in the USA or South America have an Italian origin".

"This issue - the Consortium's President and Director point out - is also linked to import quotas, because their elimination from this market not associated with a simultaneous strong protection of the name "Parmesan", which in Europe is already protected and recognized as exclusively linked to Parmigiano Reggiano, could paradoxically give rise to a parallel market, with hard cheese potentially produced in other European countries that, once in the USA, could be labelled as "Parmesan", perhaps with the addition of the Italian flag and other Italian sounding references".