Parmigiano Reggiano GCC campaign launched

educating the difference between real Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and generic ‘Parmesan’

Parmigiano Reggiano GCC Awareness Campaign
Parmigiano Reggiano GCC Awareness Campaign

Parmigiano Reggiano GCC awareness campaign

The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium has launched a large-scale GCC awareness campaign in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Kuwait. The initiative is part of a multi-year investment plan that aims at developing the market potential in the Gulf region for Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

The Consortium’s strategy aims at educating Arab consumers on the specific characteristics of Parmigiano Reggiano, a cheese that stands out for its selection of the best and 100% natural ingredients and for using the same recipe for one thousand years.

A survey carried out by Hirux / Nielsen highlighted that consumers in the GCC countries mistakenly identify  Parmigiano Reggiano with generic Parmesan. Indeed, Parmigiano Reggiano accounts for only 30% of the sales of hard cheese in GCC, whereas Parmesan accounts for the remaining 70%.

Parmigiano Reggiano – Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

The campaign comprises a TV commercial developed by Hirux International to be aired in Kuwait, UAE and KSA. The commercial is designed by Lebanese Film Director Salim El Turk with the support of Promedia Agency.

The commercial tries to shed light on the difference between Parmigiano Reggiano and the generic ‘Parmesan’ cheese.

According to Fabrizio Raimondi, Press officer for Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium, Many cheesemakers produce high-quality cheeses that are inspired by Parmigiano-Reggiano and they call them Parmesan.

Parmigiano Reggiano has to be made using artisan and natural methods that are established in the Product Regulation and in the strict Specifications, which set forth specific production procedures (Production Standard), a special diet for cows (Feeding Regulation for Dairy Cattle), rules for using the hot-iron mark (Marking Regulation).

Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium
Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium – Press Officer – Fabrizio Raimondi (L) and Andrea Robuschi (R)

The Production Standard is registered with the European Union, because Parmigiano Reggiano is a cheese with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO), i.e. a product that, based on its distinctive characteristics and its tie to the area of origin, is safeguarded by a system provided by the EU to protect consumers and producers alike.

To bear the designation ‘Parmigiano Reggiano PDO’, the cheese has to be produced in the Area of origin (which includes the provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Mantua to the right of the Po river, and Bologna to the left of the Reno River – a surface of approximately 10,000 km2).

Parmigiano Reggiano GCC
Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese with Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

Regular controls are carried out on the milk used in the process to ensure the high quality and the presence of special characteristics, which allow Parmigiano-Reggiano to be completely without additives or preservatives.

He added: The purpose of our campaign is to educate people about the importance of choosing authentic Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.

Large-scale TV and digital media campaign

The TV campaign shows a typical Arab family dining together. Carol Hannoun, the Lebanese Fashion Editor and Image Consultant stars in the campaign as a mother who is trying to convince her son to have Parmesan cheese.

But the son refuses saying it is not original Parmigiano Reggiano and calls the Police to verify the authenticity. The fake-origin cheese is exposed and the commercial ends with a shot of the real Parmigiano Reggiano.

The campaign will also be launched on social media to reach as many consumers as possible, including the numerous expats that account for more than 70% of the population in Dubai.