Balsamic Vinegar of Modena PGI is not only one of the most exported and well-known Italian products in the world; it is also part of the European heritage of Geographical Indications. In fact, since 1994, the European Union has established a legal system for the recognition and protection of Protected Designations of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indications (PGI), creating the first list of products with a geographical indication at the EU level. Aceto Balsamico di Modena, despite its millennial history, obtained the prestigious recognition of PGI only in 2009. What lays behind this acronym and the yellow and blue logo that stands out on the labels of Aceto Balsamico di Modena?
The characteristics of denomination
The most peculiar elements concern the public and collective nature of the system, in addition to guarantees and protections that protect both producers and consumers. Like the other PDOs and PGIs, also the name Aceto Balsamico di Modena (Balsamic Vinegar of Modena) can only be used for products entirely made in the territory of origin by subjects adhering to the system, operating in accordance with the rules of the production disciplinary. The system is collective because it is managed by a Consortium, an association in which the producers agree on strategies together, promotion and protection actions. It is public because access to protected production is guaranteed to all interested parties and because it is characterized by transparent rules that everyone, even the simple consumer, can access. Finally, compliance with these rules is guaranteed by the Italian Ministry of Agriculture and certified by a Controlling Body appointed by the same Ministry.
Communicating the value of Balsamic
Media knowledge of this system is limited and often consumers are not aware of the richness of meanings and the work that these protected productions represent. To achieve this goal, therefore, a great work of institutional communication to increase awareness is necessary. The Consortium for the Protection of Aceto Balsamico di Modena is working in this direction. For example, in analyzing its latest advertising campaign, one can notice that the concepts chosen to summarize the range of meanings that the term Protected Geographical Indication contains are those of ‘authenticity’ and ‘origin’, then merged into a single expression in Italian translated as Autentico all’origine, in English as The root of authenticity.
An important step for the protection of the term ‘balsamic’
The case between the Protection Consortium of Aceto Balsamico di Modena PGI and the German company Balema on the protection of the term balsamic has reached the last degree of judgment in Germany. After the court ruling in Mannheim, favorable to the Consortium’s thesis, and that of the Karlsruhe Court of Appeals, which had overturned the outcome of the proceedings, last April the judgment of the Supreme German Federal Court was given, which refused an appeals judgment, accepting the appeal of the Consortium and referring the procedure to the Court of Justice of the EU for a preliminary ruling. Excellent news, not only for the producers of Aceto Balsamico di Modena, but for all consumers in Europe, who will enjoy greater protection, elimination of unfair competition and, above all, greater transparency in the labeling of food products. On behalf of the Consortium, Director Federico Desimoni claims to be satisfied: The totally ungrounded legal motivations on which the provision was based were rejected, and finally the referral to the Court of Justice of the EU will lead to the formulation of a precedent applicable throughout the EU territory. This is a fundamental step to reach, soon, a full protection of our name in relation to evocations and imitations.