An important achievement for Prosciutto di Parma, first and only non-Japanese product to be recognized as Geographical Indication by the Japanese government. The official ceremony took place recently in Chiba at AEON MALL Makuhari New City in the presence of the institutions and many guests, including the press, industry operators and some of the most important food producers in the country. The event was the last stage in a long bureaucratic and political process whose aim was that of learning firsthand about Prosciutto di Parma and its production methods.
We are proud of this result, which awards the efforts of our producers and confirms the undeniable quality of Prosciutto di Parma, a product that requires time, hard work and adherence to strict specifications – said Stefano Fanti, Director of the Prosciutto di Parma Consortium.
With this recognition, Prosciutto di Parma can now count on the same level of protection it currently enjoys in Europe. In addition, our product will become even more recognizable to consumers in the Japanese market, thanks to the application of the Japanese GI logo on the label. This will enable us to spread the PDO concept and will help us to expand on the characteristics that make Prosciutto di Parma unique in the world.
The Consortium of Prosciutto di Parma has always paid great attention to the activation of systems of protection of denomination and brand. Outside Europe, trademark registration has proven the most efficient method. However, recognition of Geographical Indication strengthens the protection of the product, as the official protection activity of local Authorities is now added to the Consortium’s direct protection of intellectual property rights.
It’s an important step – Fanti said – that we hope will pave the way for other Italian and European geographical indication products to obtain registration through the bilateral EU-Japan Agreement. Protecting effectively the denomination and trademark of one’s own product is an essential prerequisite for growth in any market.
With about 107,000 Prosciutti di Parma and a value of €11 million, today Japan is the first Asian market in terms of exports and the second one, after the USA, outside the European Union. This is an enormous success considering the eating habits of a country – very different from Italy – where dry-cured ham does not belong traditionally to Japanese food culture. The Consortium, which has been present in this area for over 20 years, will continue to invest significant resources in the promotion of Prosciutto di Parma, focusing on a substantial promotional schedule. Among other things, a recently started three-year project funded by the European Union aims to spread knowledge about two PDO products of excellence – Prosciutto di Parma and Grana Padano – both among professional operators and final consumers. In addition, training of staff members will continue, as well as the collaboration with restaurant groups focussed on Italian cuisine, a strategic channel for promotion of our product. There will also be participation in trade fairs such as Foodex, a true business tool.