What is it?
The Italian agri-food heritage is globally unique in terms of quality and variety. The gastronomic culture of Italy and its agri-food produce are famous and appreciated by consumers all over the world.
As a result of this popularity, a parallel economy has grown up over the years that by taking away market share for protected products, causes untold damage to Italian companies. This phenomenon is known as “Italian Sounding”, in other words, the use of geographical names, images and trademarks that evoke Italy to promote and market products that cannot be attributed to our country. It represents the most striking form of unfair competition and deceives consumers, especially in the agri-food sector.
2 products out of 3
Worldwide, Italian Sounding products generate sales estimated at about € 54 billion per year (€ 147 million per day), which is more than twice the current value of Italian exports of agri-food products (23 billion euros).
So at least two thirds of all products marketed abroad with implied Italian origins are only apparently related to our country.
Why to fight it
Foreign companies use signage, logo’s and descriptions that suggest Italian origin without actually describing their products as Italian.
They adopt marketing techniques in order to entice the consumer into believing that their product has the quality of an Italian original, but in fact these products rarely have any of these attributes and unfairly compete in the market, even gaining a competitive edge over non-Italian competition.
Likewise in the restaurant sector there is a similar phenomenon: restaurants, pizzerias, ice-cream parlours and cafes are widespread and very popular but have nothing of “Made in Italy”, even though they refer to the name, the symbols and the gastronomic offerings of Italy.