Italy’s dairy industry, writes Il Fatto Alimentare, is rethinking some of its traditional products so that they can be enjoyed by people of any religion. Halal, a term indicating foods that are “allowed” according to Islamic doctrine, milk can now be found together with cheeses made with vegetable rennet (the only cheeses allowed by the Muslim, Judaic and Hindu faiths). These product variations have been eagerly accepted by consumers belonging to these religions.
The move has been in response to the requirements of a growing consumer base, together with the changing demographics of the Italian population. However, it is still the same family producers and cooperatives churning out the fresh cheeses which have made forays into important new markets. In addition, fermented milk seems to be widely liked, and those who have tasted it say it’s similar to traditional homemade yogurt.
This is proof of how much research and innovation is allowing the sector to respond to the evolving needs of society, as well as the possibility for Italian dairy products to cross national borders. It is also the story of an Italy that is in the midst of evolution, and with it the traditional products it has come to be known for: opening to the world to rediscover itself as more Italian than ever.