Italy's food producers hit out Friday at a wave of "Italian-sounding" foods that are outselling their authentic products by two-to-one, ANSA reported Friday.
They say sales of Italian staples such as parmesan cheese, polenta, and Milanese pasta are being eclipsed by a string of cheap imitations -- such as Romanian "parmezan" cheese, "Milaneza" pasta from Portugal and Montenegrin "palanta."
And do not get them started on the "Lasandwich," which has just gone on sale in Tesco supermarkets across the U.K. -- a product they dismiss as an insult to the classic baked pasta dish from which it takes its name.
The "Italian-sounding" food business is worth ’26 billion ($34 billion) a year in the European Union alone, more than twice the value of Italy's exports of genuine goods to the region, Italy's food producers' federation, the Federalimentare, said Friday.
The organization also lamented that, despite their famed passion for food, Italians themselves are turning to the cheaper, less tasty alternatives, presumably because of the recession.
Producers are also worried about so-called pirate foods, which go one step further and fraudulently market themselves as Italian produce, ANSA said. The illegal practice costs the country an estimated ’60 billion a year, the Italian news agency added.
Read more: ANSA