The excellence of Made in Italy making ready to conquer America. The “Legends from Europe” project co-funded by Brussels continues with great success. The protagonists are four legends in Italian agro-foods, with investments of over 2 and a half million euros intended to increase exports from the Old Continent.
For the second consecutive three-year period, Parma Ham, San Daniele Ham, Parmesan cheese and Montasio cheese will be promoted on the US market in order to help raise awareness of the quality and authenticity of European PDO products.
Eurocarne Post asked Paolo Tanara, Chairman of the Parma Ham Consortium, to take stock of the initial phase of the project and prospects for the future.
Dr. Tanara, how important is it for the Consortium to be part of the “Legends from Europe” project? Why did you decide to renew your involvement?
“Over these years of work, 'Legends from Europe' has managed to promote our culinary excellence in the United States, where Parma Ham is still most widely known and appreciated. Yet the real strength of this project for us is that we have the chance of working together with four great Italian PDO products. It is a fine way to present Italy as a united system and thereby promote our quality values abroad”.
How would you assess the results obtained after the experimental period that ended last February?
“The results are self-evident: despite certain physiological difficulties, we are still managed to consolidate our presence in the USA, already the leading market for Parma Ham exports for some years now. The performance in 2013 was excellent: exports came to more than 500,000 hams with a boom in sales of trays (2,590,000)”.
What are the prospects for the future?
“We are convinced that this market can still offer us a great many opportunities. Thanks not the least to 'Legends from Europe', in recent years we have developed a varied programme of activities. Our main commitment is to educate American consumers to make informed choices and pay closer greater attention to quality products such as ours. This year also saw the worldwide launch - including the USA - of the Specialist project, which will involve in future those retailers distinguished by their loyalty and for whom Parma Ham is something special”.
Which difficulties does Italian excellence encounter abroad?
“Over and above promoting the product and its excellent qualities, our main challenge abroad is to overcome a cultural gap and promote the PDO concept and everything associated with it, namely the importance of the entire Italian value chain, strict traceability and the production of completely natural products. Then there are other difficulties linked with more technical aspects, such as trademark protection or adaptation to local health procedures. For this reason, it is important to develop a system with other Italian PDO products, as in this project. We have a priceless heritage, which must be appropriately defended and promoted”.
Can you give us some export data for such an important consortium as yours?
“The performance of international markets has fortunately managed to offset problems on the domestic market. It is by now clear that investing abroad is no longer merely part of a strategic vision but has become a vital necessity. In 2013, we exported a total of 2,500,000 Parma Hams, with an increase of 2% and turnover of 237 million euros. This is the fourth consecutive year in which we have posted positive results. The United States confirmed its status as the top market, followed by Germany and France. Growth in our exports is closely linked with the pre-sliced segment. In terms of results, in fact, out of a total production of about 73 million certified trays of Parma Ham, 56 millions went to international markets (+2.5%)”.
Source: Eurocarne Outlook