'Short chain'. After examining the EU rules and the applicable good practices, some ideas are offered on market trends and regulations in force in Italy.
The 'supply chain' on the label in the Immagino 2018 report by GS1-Italy
The Observatory I guess of GS1-Italy, in its own last report, offers a complete picture of the mandatory and voluntary information displayed on the labels of the 72.100 food products distributed on the GDO channels in 2018. Among these, 613 labels - equal to 0,8% of the total - report information relating to the 'supply chain' of origin. In addition to indications subject to specific rules, such as DOP, IGP, organic.
The data in itself it is not particularly significant, also taking into account the ambiguity and deceptiveness of some terms. (1) Furthermore, we note the progressive dissemination of news relating to the supply chain (+ 14,1% compared to 2017), used on 55 brands in the production sector and on 10 brands in the large-scale distribution (Big organised distribution). The two most popular words in 2018:
- 'controlled supply chain', out of 345 products, sales exceeding € 125 million (+ 12,3%),
- 'certified supply chain', 72 products, 48,5 million euros (+ 5,4%).
On closer inspection these are completely meaningless, pleonastic and often illicit statements. (2) Which denote the scarce imagination of the marketing offices and at the same time the lack of initiative of the operators. Instead, they could characterize their disciplinary with additional elements, linked to the territory and to the sustainability of each phase of the process. With the aim of building consumer loyalty through 'social pacts' that consolidate value on the territory.
'Short chain' is 'products per useful kilometer', the national standards
Law 158/17 - 'Measures for the support and enhancement of small municipalities, as well as provisions for the redevelopment and recovery of the historic centers of the same municipalities '- aims to promote and encourage the sale of products that come from' short supply chain 'or' useful kilometer'.
For 'agricultural and food products from short supply chain'' means agricultural and food products coming from a supply chain made up of a limited number of economic operators who are committed to promoting cooperation, local economic development and close socio-territorial relationships between producers, processors and consumers. ' (3)
Nothing new compared to the equally vague provision of the European legislator. The concept of a short supply chain remains undefined, albeit anchored to some values. It therefore remains the responsibility of the operator who calls you to be able to demonstrate the truthfulness and concreteness of his statements. The case is different
For 'agricultural and food products'per useful kilometer'means those' coming from a place of production or from a place of cultivation and breeding of the primary agricultural raw material used in the processing of products, located within a radius of 70 kilometers from the place of sale, as well as the products for which it is demonstrated a limited contribution of polluting emissions deriving from transport, calculated from the production phase up to the moment of final consumption '. (4)
The ministry of the environment, in agreement with that of agriculture, they should have defined the criteria and parameters to be observed in order to demonstrate the limited contribution of polluting emissions. But the yellow-green government has left out this aspect, instead giving priority to legitimation of toxic sludge in agriculture.
Short supply chain, unexpressed opportunities
To the '100% Made in Italy' the pink jersey of the Imagine 2018 report goes, as seen. Italian consumers have finally learned to appreciate products whose supply chains are rooted in the territory, as demonstrated by the resounding success of Italian wheat pasta. The agricultural raw material Made in Italy it is not necessarily better, but favoring it means contributing to our economy, employment and GDP, agriculture and related industries.
The 'short chain'nevertheless, it was only registered on 16 of the 72.100 labels displayed on the shelves of supermarkets in Italy in 2018. Shop-floor convenience or simple myopia? How can you not understand that consumers can appreciate the use of Italian wheat also in baked products, national legumes instead of Canadian ones loaded with glyphosate, krumiri biscuits with Italian butter instead of tropical palm?
'Think people think... ' (cit. Renzo Arbore)
(1) A widespread deception is the reference to the concepts of 'integrated pest management' or similar on IV and V range products. Since in fact integrated pest management in agriculture is mandatory, in Italy as in Europe, its pride on the label is to be considered prohibited, pursuant to reg. EU 1169/11, article 7.1.c. Where it is forbidden to attribute to a food product characteristics that are instead common to products of the same category
(2) For the legal reasons mentioned in note 1, to have the control or certification of the supply chain of private label products is also to be considered prohibited. Once again, these are characteristics common to all fruit and vegetables packaged with private-label
(3) See law 158/2017, art. 11.2.a
(4) See law 158/17, art. 11.2.b