Finally, an Italian app that will save “Made in Italy” worldwide. Maybe. This summer, Italcheck was born: An Italian app that verifies which Italian food products are genuine and which ones are not. This will help shoppers and aid manufacturers fight food fraud. According to Marco Masselli, the founder of Italcheck, this app will help fight the 60 billion euros in fake Italian products available on the black market today.
“Made in Italy” products are a great source of income for Italian manufacturers and producers and are appreciated worldwide. But the downside to that is it makes Italian products subject to a massive counterfeiting phenomenon. Sometimes this simply results in copies of original products, in other instances, foreign producers try to make consumers think they are buying Italian products by giving the products Italian sounding names, images or trademarks.
How Italcheck works to protect “Made in Italy” products
Italcheck offers traceability to both consumers and producers, who can be sure that their products are not counterfeits. Today the app represents 250 companies, around 5000 products across 28 different categories, including food, clothes and electrical equipment.
Italcheck can be used with any smartphone, tablet or computer; geo-localises users can use their IP address which allows them to track at any time how many people are using it. Manufacturers and producers pay a fee to become Italcheck certified and can then add the logo to their products.
The Italcheck app is backed by Italian Identity which is a non-profit association which aims to identify and protect authentic “Made in Italy” products. Once producers and manufacturers become part of the association, they will benefit from the certification of authentic Italian products, from marketing and commercial initiatives.
Italian sounding and fake Italian products
It’s not easy to quantify the real value of the global trade of fake Italian products, but what is sure is that Italian sounding business is more than double the actual value of exported Italian foods and it is estimated to have an income of about 60 billion euros a year. The most telling example is in North America, where 97% of Italian sauces, 94% of canned food and 76% of canned tomatoes are imitations and only 15% of Italian cheeses are authentic. This data is enough to calculate the damage done by the Italian sounding to different industries in Italy. Also, the issue of the EU protected food name, such as PDO Parmesan, is a sticking point in negotiations for the TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership).
If you want know more about Italian Sounding, also read WHAT DOES ITALIAN SOUNDING MEANS? And COUNTERFEITING IN THE FOOD INDUSTRY: HOW TO LEARN TO BE BETTER PREPARED.