Italian sounding: what it is and how much it costs

For those who travel and stay abroad and hang out in the supermarkets, it is easy to come across phenomena of “italian sounding”. From the packages decorated with colors that recall the Italian flag to the names that “sound” more or less vaguely like Italians to foreign ears. The food Made in Italy it has a certain prestige that not exactly honest producers try to collect by imitating, or at least remembering, the certified counterpart produced in Italy. The phenomenon has taken over huge size and costs our businesses billions of euros every year. But what exactly is Italian sounding?

What is Italian sounding

We are not talking about “fettuccine Alfredo”, or “Caesar salad”, “spaghetti Bolognese”, “pineapple pizza” or other dishes that the world considers Italian and which have nothing (or little) of Italian. By Italian sounding we mean the practice of using images, symbols and words that voluntarily recall the Italian culture per market a food product. The goal is convince the consumer that it is an Italian product, when instead it is a product totally devoid of Italian ingredients and workmanship. The phenomenon is particularly widespread because Italian products are generally synonymous with quality, taste, care in the selection and processing of raw materials and guaranteed protection of their handling. Aspects that most of the time are missing in imitated products and that make Italian sounding a real one counterfeiting phenomenon affecting both producers and consumers.

What are the most affected products?

The products affected by Italian sounding are many but the most “imitated” abroad are cheeses, oils, wines and sausages(especially Parma ham) but also preserves, sauces, balsamic vinegar, even polenta. Products such as Parmesan Cheese abroad they can boast a veritable array of imitation products from “Parmesan” to “Real Parma”, “Pamesello”, “Parmesao” or “Regianito” sold outside the European Union. Over United States for example, there is no legislature that prohibits the use of the term “Parmesan” and any cheese made on American soil with exactly zero cheese made in Emilia Romagna can be marketed as such. But you don’t need to have a big name and a tradition to fall victim to counterfeiting. Italian sounding affects the whole Made in Italy. In fact, a name is enough only vaguely Italian next to an image of the Colosseum and a packaging with the Tricolor to evoke the idea that it is a product made in Italy and to deceive the consumer.

How much does Italian sounding cost?

The most attentive will not be able to escape the irony of using a name in english to define a phenomenon of our own, perhaps in the hope that a more “exportable” name abroad could raise awareness even outside the peninsula. In reality of Italian sounding outside the Italian borders and, in part, the European Union, little talk. That’s because it’s an industry that, according to estimates Coldirettican be worth up to 120 billion euros a year. Within the European Union, Italian products are more protect yourself and the practice of Italian sounding is forbidden, but for countries like the United States for example, the Italian sounding alone is worth approx 40 billion eurosrepresenting a thriving industry that the authorities have little interest in fighting.

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