(Bloomberg News and The Daily Meal) Nicola Bertinelli can tell a happy cow by its shiny hide and wiggly ears, traits important to him since he retooled his dairy business near Parma, Italy to produce Kosher Parmigiano Reggiano cheese. It was reported this week that multiple Italian companies are seeking Kosher certification for this type of regional cheese, popularly served over pasta as a ‘can’t do without it’ garnish.
“An entrepreneur who has vision must spot what’s missing,” in the market, Bertinelli, 42, said during an interview at his cheese factory, surrounded by 7,000 wheels of aging parmesan. A clean bill of health for his cows is one of many requirements for a Kosher certification.
Bertinelli is among a growing number of Italian companies seeking such certification to increase exports, particularly to Israel and the U.S., where demand is booming. The U.S. kosher market has been pegged at about $12.5 billion, according to Lubicom Marketing & Consulting. Of the 12.4 million people who buy kosher products in the U.S., only about a fifth follow Jewish diet laws, Lubicom estimates. Many consume the products for health and safety reasons or because of other dietary regimens, it says.
Among Italian businesses that have already obtained Kosher-certification for some of their products are coffee company Lavazza and food giant Ferrero, famous abroad for its Nutella chocolate-hazelnut spread.
“Made in Italy is a brand in and of itself; adding a new brand, that’s Kosher compliant, Shariah compliant, environmental or organic compliant” can only reinforce it, Michele Costabile, a professor of marketing at the Luiss University in Rome, said in an interview.
Other Italian businesses that have gained kosher certification include Ferrero (producers of the beloved Nutella spread) and Italian coffee company Lavazza.