Whilst reading the newspapers the other day, I came across an article on the latest figures from Coldiretti on the “identity theft” targeting Italian food products.
The findings are shocking. In fact, according to Coldiretti estimates, for the first time ever the production of imitation Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano have surpassed the production of the original product with over 300 million kilograms produced for less than half the price in the United States, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, and Australia (just to mention some).
As far as the United States, Wisconsin, California, and New York are the undisputed leaders in the production of this pseudo-Parmigiano. In Europe, countries like Czech Republic, Estonia, and Latvia are among the most prolific producers of Italian-sounding imitations.
As Italians we have to protect the small 363 cheese factories, that in Italy produce around 3.2 million cheese wheels per year, as well as the milk produced in the remaining 3348 stables left where 245,000 cows are bred.
We need to make the international consumers aware that behind each single Italian product there are traditions, stories, lives of entire territories, people and cultures that are inherently impossible to reproduce in any other part of the globe.
Let’s communicate who we are and what we do.
Our mission should be to educate the consumers to help them fully understand the difference between a product coming from Italy from the ones whose only Italian feature is a vague recall in the name.
The challenge then is to communicate the story of each and every single product. The real one. The original.
The takeaway from this is the increasingly pivotal role that we, as communicators, have in representing the Italian excellence across the globe (from food to wine to fashion to many other areas).
This vital mission represents both pride for us Italians in the world, but also a great responsibility that should be taken seriously and tackled from all sides with the best strategic communication initiatives possible.