The Italian sounding is the marketing of food and beverage produced wordwide but labelled with Italian names and misleading Italian words, images, trademarks and recipes. It’an odious commercial fraud.
It’s a new phenomenon?
No, it was born in the nineteenth century: Italian emigrants began to produce food and to run restaurants, and since that they couldn’t import raw materials from Italy, they labelled the products with the names of the original ones, proud to show Italian flags, Rome’s Colisuem and Pisa Tower’s pictures on their creations. So there is a romantic side in this history, certainly not applicable to what the multinational corporations are doing today, producing fake Gorgonzola or Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese, naming them “Bombonzola” or “Parmesào”.
It’s a widespread phenomenon ?
Yes, it is. The Italian food is becoming more and more popular in the world, and millions of consumers desire to get closer to Italian food culture, a symbol of wellness; the majority of Italian companies are very small, so they don’t have the economic resources to reach international markets investing in marketing efforts, and international producers are jumping this business opportunity: every day they sell 164 million euro of Italian sounding F&B products, three times the value of exports of the true Italian ones. The Italian sounding fraud is growing every year in Italy too. Unfair producers are importing low cost raw materials and use them as ingredients for their products, taking advantage of laws that don’t protect us; they are selling as Italian Chinese tomatoes, Albanians mushrooms, Chilean and German hams. The economic damage for Italian producers and international customers is very high, the damage to the Made in Italy brand is enormous, because the low quality of Italian sounding products are affecting the prestige of real high quality Italian F&B products.
What are the most copied products ?
The first is the king of cheeses, Parmigiano Reggiano; you can find fake easily Parmigiano mainly in USA, Argentina, Brazil, Japan, Germany and the United Kingdom. The second are Prosciutto di Parma and San Daniele ham, then the Grana Padano cheese, the Buffalo Mozzarella , the Asiago and the Gorgonzola cheeses.
How can we be sure to buy Italian products ?
For now we are sure only if we buy PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) products, in the next few months I love Italian food will help us carefully informing on the real origin of many Italian F&B products. Read the labels carefully, choosing products who declare “100% Italian ingredients” on the packaging. Pay particular attention to the mozzarella cheeses, the long lasting milk , the tomato sauce , the ham (if it says ” traditional ham ” or “country ham” usually they aren’t Italian).