PDO Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese in Italy
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Parmigiano Reggiano is a hard, granular cheese with a long and natural ripening period whose production can be traced back to 1254 by Benedictine and Cistercians monks in an area on the right bank of the Po river in Norther Italy. In 1955, the Italian legislation awarded the PDO label to the product and established the area of production in the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantova south of the Po river and Bologna to the left of the Reno river. It is one of the oldest PDO products recognized at the EU level.
Consumer demand and willingness to pay a high price for the inherent quality of the Parmigiano Reggiano cheese has contributed to the vitality, sustainability over the years and growth of the localized agri-food system of the Parmigiano Reggiano.
The sustainability assessment presented in this chapter suggests that the Parmigiano Reggiano performs better, although at times percentage differences are very small, than the reference product for almost all of the indicators employed to investigate sustainability in its economic, environmental and social dimensions. Remarkable positive differences occur for the product price and penetration in international markets, the lower water footprint and better distribution of the bargaining power. Downside of the international success of the Parmigiano Reggiano is the higher food miles it travels and carbon footprint of the product, compared to its reference.
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