They are the numbers 1, at least for the breadth of the offer: in fact, they are beyond 18 thousand products food and beverages that highlight theirs on the packaging 'Italian'. This was revealed by the Observatory. I imagine it has caught and deepened this phenomenon, which is growing rapidly. Between tricolor flags and claim as "100% Italian", Dop stamps and Docg, the menu is complete and ranges from pasta to canned tomato, from wine to cheese, from cold cuts to biscuits. Consumers like it, so much so that Italianness is one of the most appreciated and determining requirements when it comes to choosing what to bring to the table. But why the "made in Italy" do you like it so much? For many reasons. "It is not so much a question of nationalism – reads a survey conducted by Altroconsumo – but of trust: in the rules that protect us, in the authorities that control, in the quality they offer products of our lands. Or, at other times, it is distrust in what comes from beyond the border and that we know less ”. This is why many companies, large and small, have begun to report their Italian matrix on product packaging and advertising. The examples are a lot different: there are those who have chosen to use only or above all ingredients Italians, those who produce in Italian plants and those who adopt typical recipes and traditional, which should ensure an Italian taste. Not everything, however, is clear and striking as it seems.

Altroconsumo wanted to check how it is reported the origin of foods on the labels of the most common food products. In many cases it is compulsory (and in this Italy is more severe than the rest of the EU), in others it is optional and voluntary. In recent years the number of alimony which must clearly indicate where it has come from: fruit, vegetables, milk and derivatives, extra virgin olive oil of olive, meat, tomato preserves, fish products, eggs, pasta, rice, and honey. And go look for it on the label or on the signs of the products sold bulk reserve of surprises. One can, for example, discover that the chain distributive which looks like paladin actually Made in Italy buys a lot of fruit and vegetables abroad. Or that the famous brand of honey Italian actually mixes honey import. Or that the company of jams that recalls tradition regionalactually uses fruit bought abroad. It is not a question of quality or safety, since every raw material coming from abroad must respect the rules imposed by the community rules. And that, however, the origin of a food does not necessarily guarantee the goodness. But it is a problem of transparency and "honesty”, Which can affect trust in a brand or a sign commercial.

"100% ITALIAN": CIOE ’?
A winning claim, which in 2018 has grown considerably both in terms of number of products involved (more than 4 thousand food products that can be purchased at the supermarket) and per ride business. It worked well especially on ice cream, snacks, frozen vegetables, poultry meats and cured meat cold cuts. But we need to make some distinctions. There are products where the sentence "100% Italian" refers to the whole food. Usually these are mono-ingredient products, such as the milk, extra virgin olive oil, pasta, the salt, the butter, it sugar, olives in brine, natural meats and preserves from tomato (especially the peeled). In many of these products, however, to signal the origin of the ingredients on the label is mandatory. But there are cases where to be "100% Italian" is just one of the ingredients, and it is not necessarily the most important one either significant: for example the sugar with which the biscuits were prepared, the milk used in the ice creams or the ham with which the sandwiches are stuffed.

It is not a good sign for the national economy to discover that, during the course of the 2018, this indication has disappeared from 2.6% of the food products that can be purchased at supermarket. It was, in particular, biscuits, pasta, mozzarella and pasta dishes ready. Evidently, the appeal to the imports and some productions have been located abroad. However, over 7 thousand foods and drinks remain packaged which continue to be implemented in Italian factories.

It is the most immediate sign of Italianness. And indeed the tricolor it is also the most used symbol on packs of food products that present themselves as Italian. Today it is found on over 10 thousand products sold in the supermarkets: from eggs to ice creams, from milk bread substitutes UHT, from frozen foods to cold cuts, from snacks to jams. However, in reality, it can mean everything and nothing: not being regulated by law, can also be used casually (as often happens abroad), even just to accompany a product made in the Italian manner or that see a taste, a recipe or an Italian specialty. Even in this case, therefore, it is better not to stop image of the flag but looking for more precise information on its label meaning.

Manuela Soressi
July 2019


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