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Parma Ham: Alessandro Utini as President of the Consortium

Reform of the specification, production offer, sustainability: these are the first issues on the agenda

The Board of Directors of the Parma Ham Consortium has appointed Alessandro Utini to the presidency of the protection body which today groups together 140 Parma Ham producers. Alessandro Utini thus returns to the leadership of the Consortium where he had already held the role of President from 2004 to 2005, as well as having been Vice-President and director for over 20 years.

The new president heads the Furlotti Group which includes the companies Furlotti Prosciutti Srl and Salumificio Furlotti & CSrl, the family businesses dedicated to the production of Parma Ham and other cured meats, and is also a partner and director of the Prosciuttificio Tre Stelle Srl and Fratelli Tanzi SpA, a company specializing in the preparation and slicing of delicatessen products.

Taking up the inheritance of his father, one of the pioneers in the production of Parma Ham, Utini has been able to transform its companies over time into a technologically advanced entrepreneurial reality, considerably increasing its size and establishing itself on the market by diversifying the production offer.

As President of the Parma Ham Consortium, he will lead a sector worth 1.5 billion euros and an impressive production chain that includes 3,600 pig farms, 77 slaughterhouses, 3,000 processing workers in the province of Parma, and a total of 50,000 people working in the entire protected circuit. The Deputy Vice-President, Federico Galloni and the Vice-President Giorgio Tanara.

The ordinary Assembly of consortium members also elected the other members of the new Board of Directors: Stefano Borchini, Lorenzo Boschi, Tito Brindani, Giorgia Capanna, Marco Ferrari, Pier Arnaldo Fontana, Alcide Gallina, Nicola Levoni, Marco Martelli, Francesco Piazza, Gian Marco Rossi, Paolo Sassi, Gianluca Tanara, Paolo Vescovi, Mattia Zambroni, as well as Antenore Cervi representing the breeders, Giuseppe Varazzani representing the slaughterers and Fabrizio Aschieri for the packers. It also appointed Dr. Enrico Calestani chairman of the Board of Statutory Auditors and Matteo Chiari and Paolo Ugolotti effective members of the Board.

"Our responsibility today is to outline the Parma Ham of tomorrow by identifying concrete and current actions to keep the product competitive on the market", says Utini, commenting on the particular historical context and explaining the key points of his mandate for the next few years. 

"Maximum attention will be paid to the quality and distinctive elements of Parma Ham through two decisive projects for our sector: the revision of the Production Regulations and the planning of the production offer".

The Production Regulations, currently being evaluated by the European Commission, provide for substantial changes that affect all the links in production, from the characteristics of the raw material to the finished product and are intended to improve the quality of Parma Ham and to strengthen its identity to distinguish it from its competitors: strong attention to raw material, genetics and pig nutrition, reduction of salt, extension of the minimum seasoning period and opening up to new technologies and innovations capable of further improving the product traceability system.

Another issue on which the Board will have to concentrate its work is the regulation of the production offer to ensure a coherent and targeted planning of market balance capable of guaranteeing greater stability to the sector, protecting the quality of the product and bringing benefits to all rings of the supply chain.

Utini then recalled that "to set up the new development plan, we commissioned a market study capable of offering us an all-round photograph of our product with two lines of investigation: the first conducted by the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Piacenza. involves the buyers of the large-scale retail trade and investigates the growth prospects in this sector; Eumetra takes care of the second which is aimed instead at consumers and traditional delicatessens and provides a competitive survey with other cured meats, examines new trends, studies purchasing behavior , the perception of Parma and the expectations of the consumer. From the analysis of the results the marketing and market activities will take shape with a serious discussion also on the segmentation of the product".

Utini then spoke about sustainability and how these principles are now an integral part of people's lives and business activities, affecting the consumer's purchasing choices. With the adoption of the Green Deal and the related Farm to Fork strategy by the European Commission, sustainability officially becomes the central theme of European policies for the next decade.

"As a sector - concludes Utini - we have come a long way. Parma Ham is a product of excellence appreciated all over the world and we owe this also to the courage of having made certain choices in the past, often unpopular. We have rediscovered and consolidated credibility of our control system making it more effective and transparent and we are carrying out substantial changes to the Regulations that will significantly improve our product".

Today we are facing much more complex challenges that require even more courageous and timely responses if we want to continue to be protagonists and guarantee a sustainable future for our product and our companies.

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EFA News - European Food Agency