REGGIO EMILIA, Italy– The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium has signed a landmark agreement with Whole Foods Market to increase the presence of Parmigiano Reggiano PDO in the retailer’s more than 500 stores across the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The agreement represents a bold step forward by the Consortium to increase its presence within the American market, the second-largest importer of Parmigiano Reggiano in the world (after France). By partnering with Whole Foods Market, Parmigiano Reggiano will gain increased distribution in the U.S. across the grocer’s 487 stores in the country.
“Our agreement with Whole Foods Market is unprecedented in the history of European PDO products. Taken in concert with our work to promote authenticity and traceability, Whole Foods Market gives us the opportunity to bring Parmigiano Reggiano to more epicures in international markets,” stated Nicola Bertinelli, President of The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium.
Whole Foods Market, in addition to carrying Parmigiano Reggiano in stores, is committed to increasing awareness and education for “The King of Cheese” to gastronomes and mainstream consumers alike. Whole Foods Market will kick off the partnership with two annual events, each featuring the ceremonial cracking of a full wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano by an expert cheese monger followed by edification on its rich heritage, quality and unique attributes. Whole Foods Market and The Parmigiano Reggiano Consortium will also partner to create in-store materials to provide shoppers with more information about the cheese.
About Parmigiano Reggiano
For more than 900 years, Parmigiano Reggiano has been produced exclusively in the Italian provinces of Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena and parts of the provinces of Mantua and Bologna, on the plains, hills and mountains enclosed between the rivers Po and Reno. From these deep roots in a protected and respected environment, come the unique qualities, which characterize the “king of cheese”. Parmigiano Reggiano is always made with just three ingredients: cow’s milk, salt and rennet. The feeding of cattle complies with the norms of a strict specification that bans the use of silage and fermented feeds. Parmigiano Reggiano is aged a minimum of 12 months while most Parmigiano-Reggiano available in the US is aged a minimum of 24-36 months. No additives or preservatives are ever used as part of the strict production guidelines nor are they needed due to the humidity-controlled aging techniques and long aging times, resulting in a naturally lactose-free cheese.
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