Italy is renowned worldwide for its exceptional food and agricultural products, with more than 800 Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) labels certified by the European Union. These designations signify quality, authenticity, and a strong connection to the product's region of origin. However, the recent study "Knowledge and Perception of Value of PDO and PGI Designations among Consumers in Italy", conducted by Luiss Business School with the support of Amazon, reveals opportunities to enhance consumer understanding of these iconic Made in Italy products, as well as providing promotional suggestions by public-private operators.

The report presents and analyses the results of a survey conducted on 1,600 consumers, categorised by gender, age, and geographic area of residence. 

The study's findings show apositive context and some important development trajectories for PDO and PGI products. These designations, which protect the authenticity and quality of agri-food products linked to a specific territory, are widely recognised by the majority of Italians (96%). However, over half (55.5%) identify their distinctive character as being territorial origin, whilst a portion (27% mainly associate these brands with superior quality.

Raffaele Borriello Made in Italy PGO and PGI brands

Looking at the shopping carts of Italians, 28% of consumers say they pay considerable attention to PDO/PGI designations when making purchases, a percentage that rises to 32% upon consumption. The vast majority of consumers (over 76%) claim to have purchased at least one PDO/PGI product within a month, 12% of respondents said they bought over ten such products, whilst 28% bought between four and ten.

For most consumers, PDO/PGI designations represent significant recognition of authenticity (81%) and superior quality (69%). 62% of respondents then highlighted the connection between the quality of these products and their precise geographical origin. Yet just over a quarter of consumers believe that a PDO/PGI product has a value more than 15% higher than other food products.. Although 35% of respondents recognise that these products are positioned in higher price ranges (between 6 and 10% more than other food products), only 11% of them are willing to pay more than a 15% premium for PDO/PGI products.

Finally, counterfeiting of these products is a concern for consumers, with 67.5% of respondents believing that PDO and PGI products are more at risk of counterfeiting than other foods. To combat counterfeiting, respondents consider increasing inspections and sanctions (85%), improving consumer awareness (84.5%), and strengthening collaboration between producers and distributors (81.5%) to be essential.

Producers and protection consortia, law enforcement, retailers, and consumer associations are identified as entities to combat counterfeiting.

Made in Italy PGO and PGI brands 2
Made in Italy PGO and PGI brands 3

Amazon’s commitment to Italian agri-food Made in Italy

The results highlight an opportunity to promote and protect Italian agri-food products. Amazon believes in public-private synergy, as demonstrated by the 2021 agreement with the Ministry of Agriculture and ICQRF to protect Italian PDO and PGI products sold on Amazon and combat unfair practices in food information. This was the first case in the world of an agreement between public institutions and Amazon to protect origin brands and prevent agri-food counterfeiting.

Since 2015, Amazon has been promoting Italian excellence with the "Made in Italy Showcase", focused on nationally recognised products and local specialties from every region. Currently, this showcase is present in the online stores of 11 countries, with over 1 million products from 5,500 Italian companies.

Amazon has also supported Italian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), including agri-food ones, in their digitisation journey by launching "Accelerate with Amazon" in 2020, a free training programme created together with various public and private partners, designed to provide all the necessary tools and skills to start a new online business, or to enhance an existing one, regardless of the willingness to sell on Amazon's online store or not. Over 21,000 SMEs have used Amazon as a sales channel, more than half of which recorded a total of over €950 million in export sales in 2022.

Italy's food and wine heritage is a source of pride and a driving force for our economy. Protecting and promoting PDO and PGI products is not only a matter of preserving tradition; it is a strategic imperative to ensure customer confidence, facilitate exports, and pave the way for the continued success of our excellent Italian products on the global stage.