Fresh Produce

Parmigiano, Grana Padano Are The Most Imitated Food Items: Coldiretti

By Branislav Pekic
Share this article
Parmigiano, Grana Padano Are The Most Imitated Food Items: Coldiretti

The production of counterfeit Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano cheese around the world has surpassed that of the original, Italian farmers association Coldiretti has said.

The association also pointed out that Parmigiano-Reggiano and Grana Padano are the most imitated food products in the global market. 

The position of the original product is increasingly threatened with similar cheese varieties such as Parmesan in the US, Australia, South Africa, and Russia; Parmesano in Uruguay; Reggianito in Argentina; and Parmesao in Brazil.

Artificial Italian Cheese

One of the major producers of artificial Italian cheese is the US, where the market has grown exponentially over the past 30 years, according to Coldiretti’s analysis of USDA data.

Some 204 million kilograms of Parmesan are produced in the USA, followed by mozzarella, provolone, ricotta, and Romano. 


As a result, only 1% of the Italian-branded cheese consumed in the US is linked to Italy.

The situation is likely to worsen after the green light of the WTO on duties proposed by US President Donald Trump. 

Taxes On Imports

Coldiretti has denounced the move, which it says, is "supported mainly by the lobby of the US dairy industry (CCFN) that even wrote to US President Donald Trump to ask him to impose taxes on imports of European cheeses."

Parmesan is also very popular in Canada, where production grew by 13% year-on-year in the first half of 2019. 


Instead of taking steps to check the imitation of typical Italian products, the CETA free trade agreement with the EU resulted in a growth in production, with the effect that exports of Parmesan and Grana cheese to Canada fell by 32% year-on-year.

The production of artificial cheese in South America is also flourishing, and is likely to be boosted further by the agreement between the EU and Mercosur countries. 

European Markets

Low-quality Italian-style cheese is also sold in Europe, often under fancy names that deceive consumers about the product's origin, which is often from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and Latvia.

Overall, it is estimated that the 'so-called' Italian food products market is valued at around €100 billion globally, with a record increase of 70% over the last decade.


Meanwhile, Grana Padano DOP production has grown by 35.45% in the period from 2012 to 2019, corresponding to an annual growth rate of 2.09%. 

According to figures published by the Consorzio di Tutela del Grana Padano, 4.93 million forms were produced in 2018, while 3.22 million have already been processed in the first seven months of 2019.

© 2019 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

Get the week's top grocery retail news

The most important stories from European grocery retail direct to your inbox every Thursday

Processing your request...

Thanks! please check your email to confirm your subscription.

By signing up you are agreeing to our terms & conditions and privacy policy. You can unsubscribe at any time.