News & Press | Alessandro Utini new President of the Consortium
News & Press | Alessandro Utini new President of the Consortium
Quality and sustainability, production planning and product segmentation: the key points of his mandate
The Board of Directors of the Prosciutto di Parma Consortium, which met today in its offices in Largo Calamandrei, appointed Alessandro Utini as president of the protection body that today includes 140 producers of Prosciutto di Parma.
Alessandro Utini is thus back at the helm of the Consortium, where he had already held the role of President from 2004 to 2005, in addition to serving as Vice-President and as Director for over 20 years.
Utini is Managing Director of the Furlotti Group, which includes Furlotti Prosciutti S.r.l and Salumificio Furlotti & C. S.r.l, the family companies dedicated to the production of Prosciutto di Parma and other dry-cured meats and he is also partner and Managing Director of Prosciuttificio Tre Stelle S.r.l and Fratelli Tanzi S.p.A., a company specializing in the preparation and slicing of deli meat products.
Carrying on the legacy of his father, one of the pioneers in the production of Prosciutto di Parma, over time Utini transformed his own companies into technologically cutting-edge entrepreneurial businesses, significantly increasing them in size and succeeding on the market by diversifying the production offer.
As President of the Prosciutto di Parma Consortium, he will be leading a sector worth 1.5 billion euros and an impressive production chain that includes 3,600 pig farms, 77 abattoirs, 3,000 ham processing workers in the province of Parma, and a total of 50,000 people working in the entire protected circuit. He will be supported in his role by the Deputy Vice President, Federico Galloni, and by the Vice-President, Giorgio Tanara.
The Ordinary Shareholders’ Meeting of Consortium members, held on May 15 of this year, also elected the other members of the new Board of Directors – Stefano Borchini, Lorenzo Boschi, Tito Brindani, Giorgia Capanna, Marco Ferrari, Pier Arnaldo Fontana, Alcide Gallina, Nicola Levoni, Marco Martelli, Francesco Piazza, Gian Marco Rossi, Paolo Sassi, Gianluca Tanara, Paolo Vescovi, Mattia Zambroni, as well as Antenore Cervi representing pig breeders, Giuseppe Varazzani representing slaughterers and Fabrizio Aschieri for the packagers – and appointed Enrico Calestani as Chairman of the Board of Statutory Auditors and Matteo Chiari and Paolo Ugolotti as effective members of the same Board.
The new Board of Directors takes offices during a still precarious market situation, affected as it is by the impact of the pandemic and by the prolonged closure of the restaurant and hotel sectors. In recent weeks we have finally been seeing encouraging signs of recovery in demand, but the sector needs to find new impetus in order to face the challenges of the future and bring its projects to fruition.
Our responsibility today is to define tomorrow’s Prosciutto di Parma by identifying practical, immediate actions to keep the product competitive on the market – states Alessandro Utini, commenting on the specific current context and discussing the key points of his mandate for the next few years.
We will focus on the quality and the distinctive characteristics of Prosciutto di Parma through two crucial projects for our sector: revision of the production Specifications and production planning.
The production Specifications, currently being evaluated by the European Commission, provide for substantial changes that involve all the links of the production chain, from the characteristics of the raw material to the finished product, and are intended to improve the quality of Prosciutto di Parma and strengthen its identity in order to distinguish it from its competitors: strong attention to the raw material, to genetics and pig nutrition, reduction of salt, extension of minimum maturation time and the introduction of new technologies and innovations capable of further improving the product traceability system.
The Board will also need to concentrate its efforts on the issue of production regulation to ensure consistent planning aimed at market balance, thus providing greater stability to the sector, protecting the quality of the product and benefiting all the links of the production chain.
In order to set up the new development plan, we have commissioned a market study that can provide us with a complete picture of our product along two investigation lines: the first one, conducted by the University of Piacenza, involves large retail buyers and investigates the growth prospects in this sector; the second one, conducted by Eumetra, focuses on consumers and traditional delicatessens and provides a competitive survey with other deli meats, examines new trends, studies purchasing behaviours , the perception of Parma and the expectations of the consumer.
The results of the analysis will shape our marketing and market activities; there will also be a serious discussion on product segmentation, a natural development for any type of product and one that has already been independently applied by many of our companies – says Utini.
Utini then talked about sustainability and how its principles have become an integral part of people’s lives and business activities, thus affecting the purchasing choices of consumers. With the adoption by the European Commission of the Green Deal and the related Farm Fork strategy, sustainability has officially become the central theme of European policies for the next decade.
Within this framework, it will be important to specify the role of the Consortium and what kind of actions it will take to align Prosciutto di Parma with the new challenges linked to sustainability and ecological transition.
Many companies in the sector have long since undertaken a virtuous process by adopting an environmental management system in order to plan a policy that can promote constant improvements in the performances of their organization, with significant investments in energy efficiency, the use of renewable sources, reduction in emissions and sustainable packaging, but the Green Deal requires a more profound change, a development which has already started and which cannot be avoided by those who want to stay in the market.
As a sector we’ve come a long way – concludes Utini. Prosciutto di Parma is a product of excellence that is appreciated all over the world and this is partly owing to the courage of making certain choices in the past, often unpopular ones. We have re-established and strengthened the credibility of our control system, making it more effective and transparent, and we are implementing substantial changes to the Specifications that will significantly improve our product.
Today we are facing much more complex challenges which require even more courage and timely responses if we want to continue to be players in the sector and guarantee a sustainable future for our product and for our companies.