The Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies (MIPAAF) announced the conclusion of the online public consultation of residents on the labelling of food products. Over 26,500 participants voiced their opinion by responding to a questionnaire with 11 questions on the importance of being able to trace products, of indicating their origins and transparency of information on the labels.
Over 96 per cent of these consumers declared the importance of food product origins being clearly and understandably written on the label, while for 84 per cent, the location where these are processed is essential. For eight out of ten Italians, the fact that the product is made with raw materials from Italy and processed in Italy is crucially important at the time of purchase, after which 54 per cent verify that they are genuine, 45 per cent even verify if these are DOP and IGP brands, while 30 per cent count on the product being biological. For nine out of ten people, it is important to know the origin for reasons tied to complying with food safety standards, while for 70 per cent it is useful for ethical issues, such as compliance with the work regulations.
Likewise, Italians want to always know the origin of raw materials, especially for some products such as raw meat and fresh milk (95 per cent), dairy products like yogurt and cheese (90 per cent), cut fresh fruit and vegetables ready for consumption (88 per cent), processed meat such as salami and sausages, tinned canned meat (87 per cent) or rice (81 per cent). For over 18 thousand people (79 per cent) clearly indicating the processing location on the label is always essential and for 86 per cent, it is very important that 100 per cent of this happens in Italy.
Nearly 22 thousand people (82 per cent) stated that they are willing to spend more to be certain of the product’s Italian origin and source, with nearly half willing to spend from five per cent to 20 per cent more.
The initiative is part of the Campolibero measures of the 2014 Competitiveness Law and its purpose is to involve the public on a decisive issue such as the transparency of the labelling information on food products. Another consequence of the consultation is to fall into line with the general principles of the European Union where sharing the contents of public decisions has become a consolidated procedure for some time, especially after Regulation (EU) No 1169/2011 on the provision of food information to consumers became applicable across all EU Member States on December 13, 2014.