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Italian Flavor Consortium
The Italian Flavor Consortium was created out of a need for the Italian wine and food industries to adopt the latest commercial methods required to remain competitive in the international markets as well as back at home.
The assault launched an worldwide markets by the New World winemakers, has eroded the market share of European wine producers internationally. This is a typical example of the current global trends. The Australians are rapidly conquering substantial US and British market share. In 2004, the Australian wine imports raised above those from Italy and, for a brief time, rose to the number one wine importer to the US, ahead of Italy and France, whose wine imports dropped dramatically in the same period. As if this were not enough, California wine producers have a plan to take the lead over France for volume of wine imports to England by 2007, the Chilean exports are growing, as are those from South Africa and Argentina.
Unfortunately, the extreme fragmentation of the Italian wine and food production, which is perhaps its greatest strength and makes possible the well known and appreciated great variety of delicious Italian regional dishes and local wines that go with it, in the current world market has become a commercial handicap.
It is amazing to note that there are almost 43,000 registered Italian wine producers (source Federvini, slice number 10, 'Sorsi'), in a country that is roughly 71% the size of California. Compare this to the 1,294 actual wineries in California, the state with the major concentration of wineries in the US, (Wine Institute, March 2005). All in all, there are only about 3,000 actual commercial wineries in the whole United States.
These numbers convey the true picture of the Italian wine and food industry at its core, consisting mainly of miniscule commercial operations, often family-run, who produce consistently extremely good wine, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, cheeses and other typical regional products with love and great professionalism. At the same time they follow very strictly binding legal rules and certification processes, imposed to protect and guarantee consumers worldwide a quality product.
Each one of these micro-businesses alone will never have the economic strength to compete, worldwide or at home, with the New World producers, who are often subject to fewer and more relaxed regulations, and promote and support their products with aggressive marketing campaigns based on solid market research.
The Italian Flavor Consortium was born from such considerations, with the goal to gather small Italian quality wine and typical food producers under a single umbrella in one place, allowing them to maintain their productive independence, thus guaranteeing worldwide consumers the quality they have come to expect from Italian products.
Conversely, the Italian Flavor Consortium also helps foreign importers, distributors, retailers and restaurants gain access to small-production, quality wines and food items. This is done by sponsoring and organizing periodic Italian Flavor Forum®, informational wholesale market events showcasing the products of such small, Old World, historic commercial farms.
These are the main reasons why WineCountry.IT gave life to Italian Flavor Consortium .