Parmigiano Reggiano PDO: 2019 was a record year

Boom for production and exports sales before the Covid-19 crisis. The protection Consortium is working to counteract the worst effects of the pandemic on producers
Parmigiano Reggiano PDO: 2019 was a record year

2019 was a record year for the production of Parmigiano Reggiano PDO, which grew overall by 1.47% compared to the previous year. The 3.75 million wheels (about 150 thousand tons) produced in 2019 represent the highest level in the history of Parmigiano Reggiano. Consumer turnover reached 2.6 billion euros while this PDO product is increasingly projected abroad. In fact, the King of Cheeses’ production is in continuous expansion and needs new market space.

In the last three years, production has increased from 3.47 million wheels to 3.75 million, growing by +8.1%. Moreover, Parmigiano Reggiano PDO market is becoming increasingly international. Italy now represents just under 60% of total sales, whereas exports share has reached 41% (+4.3% growth in volume compared to the previous year). France is the leading market (21% of total exports), followed by the USA (20.9%), Germany (17.8%), the UK (12.3%), and Canada (3.9%).

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While sales in France (+2.2%) and the United Kingdom (+2.7%) held, exports to Germany grew (+6.7%%) after the drop recorded in 2018, as did Switzerland (+16.3%) and the United States (+12.9%), the latter due to fear of tariffs. Parmigiano Reggiano PDO grew also in ‘new markets’ such as Australia (+21.3%), China (+36.4%), and Arab countries (+2.9%). Sales in Canada, on the other hand, are slowing down (-26.5%) due to adjustments to CETA.

As regards the first two months of 2020 (pre-Covid pandemic), Parmigiano Reggiano PDO sales have already recorded an increase in sales volumes, particularly in the large-scale retail sector where growth was close to +20%.

On the other hand, the trend of quotations is less favorable considering that the wholesale price (average production price of 12-months matured Parmigiano Reggiano from dairy producers) in April was just over 8 euros per kg compared to 10.75 euros in 2019.


The Consortium is monitoring the impact of Covid-19 on the Parmigiano Reggiano PDO market. According to a recent research, 53% of producers are very satisfied with sales orders in the first months of 2020, in particular with regard to the Italian market. Less enthusiasm for orders from the EU countries and great concern for North America and Canada. The Consortium’s companies expect an overall drop in orders in the coming months, particularly in the horeca trade.

The crisis we are facing due to the pandemic – says Nicola Bertinelli, president of the Parmigiano Reggiano PDO protection Consortiumhas not stopped our activities of the Consortium, starting with quality controls to protect and guarantee consumers. Vigilance activities in the markets are going on as well, with particular attention to international protection. After the successes in New Zealand and China in 2019, we have defeated Campbell’s which will now have to remove references to our PDO cheese from the labels of its products.”

Our work continues – says Bertinelli we have revised the 2020 marketing plan in the light of all the limitations we are suffering due to the lockdown and what will be the next stages of this slow return to normality. We will also need measures to calm down production, which is currently increasing excessively, as well as actions on the horeca channel.”

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