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Southern Italy: finally a "peeled tomato" PGI

25/01/2018 - François-Xavier Branthôme - Lire en français
Four regions out of five are favorable to the PGI...
Thanks to the acknowledgment of a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication), southern Italy's peeled tomato sector is currently counting on renewed development.
On 21 December 2017, the Committee responsible for promoting and protecting the "peeled tomatoes" indication announced that it had obtained the authorization from almost all of the regions concerned (Abruzzo, Basilicata, Campania and Molise) to use the Protected Geographical Indication. Last July, the Committee had applied to the Ministry of Agriculture and to the regions concerned in order to obtain the acknowledgment of the PGI, hoping to encourage the growth of consumption and a recovery of the market. The specific characteristics of production and processing operations for "peeled oblong tomatoes" are a quality feature that is appreciated on the international markets.

Over the past few decades, the consumption of peeled tomatoes has lost market shares (almost 10% per year) to other products like pulped tomato (diced, crushed, etc.) and passata, both in Italy and abroad, where there is a problem due to non-original products claiming to be Italian by simply going by Italian-sounding names in their descriptions. 

"The feature of territoriality – explains Giovanni De Angelis, the General Director of the ANICAV, the Association of growers of processing vegetables – is required in order to obtain a PGI, and it is linked to the processing stage, which is exclusively carried out in Campania, with specific particularities in the provinces of Naples and Salerno, and for the past two decades, in some of the neighboring provinces like Chieti, Potenza, Campobasso and Foggia."

According to the latest available figures regarding domestic consumption, the market continued to shrink over the period running September 2016 – September 2017, with a 1.9% drop in value despite a slight recovery in volumes. As for export markets, after the good performances of recent years, results from the first eight months of the year indicate a fallback in volume of 6% and in value of 7.1%, which can be attributed to a slowdown in trade (-7.9% in terms of quantity) towards European destinations, notably Germany (-18.2%), and a drop in paste exports to Africa (-19.8%). Conversely, export shipments of Italian tomato products to the United States recorded a sharp progression over the first eight months of 2017 (+12.1% in value and +9.9% in volume).

...but Apulia said no to the "Pomodoro Pelato Napoli" PGI
On 17 January, the Apulia region registered a negative opinion regarding the application presented to the Italian Ministry of Agriculture for the "Naples peeled tomatoes" PGI. This decision was made public by the Regional Councilor for food-industry resources Leonardo di Gioia after a roundtable discussion that included Apulia's Producers' Organizations.

"The Apulia region hosts virtually all of the tomato production of the industry in southern Italy, whereas Campania almost only has processing companies (Princes and Rosso Gargano in Foggia, Conserve Italia in Mesagne, Castellano in Cerignola)." The Regional Councilor pointed out that "the report presented to the Committee for the Promotion of the "Pomodoro Pelato Napoli" PGI [did not clearly demonstrate] the involvement of all of Apulia's growers." The region also argued that "the acknowledgment of a PGI can only be based on the existence of elements demonstrating "a well-established usage" of the indication, which is not the case for the so-called peeled tomato of Naples. Finally, it is certain that such a measure would penalize our sector, which is an essential link in southern Italy's industry – so our refusal is not a question of parochial interest but of merit."


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