Gorgonzola goes social to fight US counterfeit market

The consortium for protection announced an anti-counterfeiting campaign in the US and northern Europe to raise awareness about one of the most important Italian cheeses in the world
Gorgonzola goes social to fight US counterfeit market

Known for its green-blue veining, Gorgonzola was first produced more than 11 centuries ago in Gorgonzola, a city near Milan, and is today the No.3 most important Italian cheese with Protected designation of origin (PDO) after Parmigiano Reggiano and Grana Padano.

But like all the renowned and therefore copied Italian products, Gorgonzola too suffers from unfair competition in foreign markets from cheaper “Italian sounding” counterfeit products such as “Combonzola”, a business estimated to be worth €60 billion.

From 2016, the Gorgonzola consortium will start a communication campaign using social media and the Internet to educate foreign shoppers about the authenticity and history of the cheese, whose annual sales are worth €550 million.

Made with unskimmed cow’s milk, to which spores of the Penicillium mold are added and metal rods quickly inserted during the aging process to create the famous veins, Gorgonzola is produced in the northern regions of Piedmont and Lombardy.

Currently 31% of production is exported. In the first nine months of 2015, sales of Gorgonzola outside of Italy increased by more than 12%. France and Germany combined buy more than 50% of exported Gorgonzola, but the US market is growing.

Cheese is Italy’s third-largest exported food to the US after wine and oil and before pasta. US imports of agro-food and beverage from Italy increased 23.4% in January-October from the same period of 2014, for a value of €3.27 billion, according to data by the US Department of Commerce elaborated by the Italian Trade Agency (ITA).

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