Made in Italy: Parma Ham, leader in cured meat exports

They are called “Belli e Ben Fatti” (lovely and well made) and are products of the middle-upper market segment in the key sector of “Made in Italy” products, and Parma Ham legitimately falls within this category. But beyond the image there is also much substance, highly respectable numbers that make Parma Ham an icon of success of the Italy that is highly regarded abroad.

Thanks to the excellent results obtained in the international markets, where in 2012 it recorded a growth of 10%, Parma Ham is the most sold Italian delicatessen product abroad: exports of the Parma PDO is worth 232 million Euro, more than that made by Cooked Ham, Mortadella (Bologna sausage) and Frankfurters put together.

Exports account for 28% of the total turnover of Parma Ham, an amount that is bound to rise and is in any case decidedly higher than the average for the Italian agri-food sector that in 2012 stabilized at 19%. These results are even more significant if we consider that Parma Ham represents “Made in Italy” products 100%, since it boasts an entirely Italian production chain.

The export results – declared Paolo Tanara, president of the Parma Ham Consortium – are a breath of fresh air for us to withstand the crisis in the domestic market. With great foresight, our Consortium started a foreign market development strategy some time ago, which does not just mean exporting more, but means organizing and structuring ourselves as a sector to best respond to the complex challenges of the global market; the role of the Consortium alongside the 150 producers of Parma Ham is inescapable for competing in foreign markets, and the tangible results we have obtained in many countries are for us a confirmation of how many good things we are doing. 

 The protagonists of such a brilliant result were mostly non-European countries led by the excellent performance of the USA that with 520 thousand hams thus proved to be the leading export market for Parma Ham, Japan and Australia that, with a significant leap forward (67,000 hams), overtook Canada and Switzerland. But the European markets are struggling, except for Germany, which recorded a 14% increase, so ousting France from second place, and Holland, thanks to the extraordinary achievement of the trayed product.