Opposition to Italian Sounding

The Italian agricultural and food heritage is unique in the world for quality and variety. Italian gastronomic culture and Italian agrifood products are famous and appreciated by the consumers of many countries. As a result of this popularity, a parallel economy has grown up gradually over the years which, by taking market share from protected products, causes serious damage to Italian companies.
This phenomenon is known as “Italian Sounding”, i.e. the use of geographical denominations, images and brand names which evoke Italy, in order to promote and market products which have absolutely nothing to do with our country. It represents the most striking form of unfair competition and fraud against consumers, especially in the agrifood sector.
At global level, the annual turnover of Italian Sounding is estimated at about 54 billion Euros (147 million Euros a day), anyway more than double the current value of Italian exports of agricultural food products (23 billion Euros). Therefore, at least two products out of three marketed abroad are Italian only in appearance. Foreign companies which improperly use distinctive signs and informative and promotional descriptions which in some way belong to our country, are adopting market techniques which induce the consumer to attribute to their products characteristics of Italian quality which in reality they do not possess, thus competing unfairly in the market and acquiring a competitive advantage with respect to the competition (and not only the Italian competition). In Italy, agricultural food production is governed by rigid rules, whose objective is to protect the high quality of the products as well as the health of consumers.
“Made in Italy”, therefore, stands not only for a quality product, but also for a safe product. Other products, apparently Italian, cannot, in principle, claim to be so. The DGLC-UIBM, in collaboration with Federalimentare (the Italian food industry federation), was concerned in the period 2011 - 2013 with two projects aimed at opposing the phenomenon of Italian Sounding.
The first project, which began in June 2011, was directed at Canada, on the occasion of Italy's taking part in the "SIAL" show in Toronto. This project, which was aimed at promoting and enhancing the products of the agrifood supply chain of Italian origin, educating the end consumer to recognise the origin and the difference in quality of the Italian product, continued until June 2012 by carrying out "promotional activities" at the outlets of the mass retailers and a "publicity campaign" in the principal cities: Montreal and Toronto. The second project, which was motivated by the positive experience in Canada, was carried out in Russia in 2013. The choice of Russia was dictated by this market's growing interest in the Italian food industry, arising from the increasing appreciation by Russian consumers of the quality of our products.
For this particular project the General Directorate took part in Prodexpo, the International Salon of Food Products, Drinks and Raw Materials which was held in Moscow in February 2013. On this occasion, as well as promoting the image of original Italian products, information seminars were held by the most famous chefs from Italian restaurants in Moscow, to educate the Russian consumer to recognise the original oenogastronomic product, with the intention of fighting back against the imitation of Italian food products.
On this occasion there were also evenings dedicated to typical Italian cuisine at the best-known local restaurants.







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