Specialty Food Magazine

JUL-AUG 2012

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Page 23 of 207

F You Say Tomato® ood terminology under is fire. The newly launched Consortium for Common Food Names opposes—and actively seeks to block—any effort to restrict use of generic food names that are in common use, such as feta, provolone, bologna and salami, as well as terms used by winemakers. "The Consortium for Common Food Names believes that everyone should have the right to use common names in marketing well-known foods. But that right is increasingly under threat," says Shawna Morris, senior director of the international initiative. "This is driven primarily by the efforts of the European Commission to put in place provisions around the world that , I Say tomato threaten to monopolize common/generic names that have become part of the public domain. We are working to foster the adoption of an appropriate model for protecting both legitimate geographical indications and generic food names." The debate affects those making, selling and consuming specialty food products. The restrictions impact producers, "particularly smaller companies who can less readily afford to launch costly relabeling and rebranding campaigns," Morris says, as well as the rest of the supply chain. "Locking consumers in to only one option that they recognize for a particular type of product is likely to raise its cost, confuse consumers and potentially reduce overall sales as a result." "These are matters of intellectual properties," responds Nancy Radke, director of the U.S. Information Office for the Consortium of Parmigiano- Reggiano Cheese, which has earned protection for the use of the term Parmesan in the European Union and hopes to build awareness in the United States with the recent launch of Parmesan.com. Radke cites the World Trade Organization's TRIPS Agreement, a comprehensive intellectual property accord among WTO members (the U.S. included), which specifi- cally addresses geographical indications and even terminology uses such as "type" or "style" in restrictions for protected names. "Can you imagine for a second, 'Microsoft-style software'?" she says. "Why do we think that in the world of food and wine it should be different?" But it's not just a legal matter, Radke adds. She sees a unique name as a key marketing opportunity for food producers, allowing a new brand to take inspiration from a European product but still stand on its own—an idea many members of the American Cheese Society support, she notes. "Even in Italy, [Parmigiano Reggiano® is] only one among many hard grating cheeses," she says, not- ing such successful products as Grana Padano and Bella Lodi. "All of these cheeses share great similarities, and yet they all market around individual names—names they can be proud of."—Denise Shoukas and Eva Meszaros (continued on p. 148) JULY/AUGUST 2012 17 Get more from What's New, What's Hot! with a NEW Online Gallery at specialtyfood .com/wnwh t #SPXTF QSPEVDUT t 3FBE NPSF JOGPSNBUJPO t (FU JOGPSNBUJPO EJSFDUMZ GSPN UIF NBOVGBDUVSFS specialtyfood .com/wnwh Check it out today at

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