2023 is bitter for those who produce milk from Parmigiano Reggiano

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For the second consecutive year, in Emilia Romagna the producers of milk for Parmigiano Reggiano close the balance sheet at a loss. And this certainly does not apply to the commercial results of the PDO: after a 2022 growth of 6.9% in value and 2.6% in volume, in 2023 on the domestic market Parmigiano essentially held up in quantities, while on the international market it seems even recovering. The problem for farmers, claims Confagricoltura, lies in the fact that in the last two years the wholesale price of cheese has fallen, while the costs of milk production have remained high.

According to the association’s estimates, in Emilia Romagna the average production cost for 100 kilos of milk from Parmigiano Reggiano in 2023 is 75-76 euros, including expenditure items for livestock feed and for employee and family labor . In 2022, the average costs were 75.90: in fact, the reduction in energy costs recorded during 2023 was completely absorbed by the increase in financial costs due to the jump in interest rates. On the other hand, between January and September 2023, the wholesale prices of Parmigiano Reggiano fell by 5.2% compared to the same period of the previous year, from 10.57 to 10.02 euros per kilo, while in the month of October the decline recorded was 8%. «With farm gate prices, per 100 kilos of milk, stuck on average below 64 euros (excluding VAT) from January 2022 – claims the president of the dairy section of Confagricoltura Emilia Romagna, Roberto Gelfi – a redistribution of supply chain margins is urgently needed. Milk production costs have increased but the farmgate price has remained unchanged, at the same time wholesale cheese prices have decreased while the consumer price has remained almost constant. Who profits from it? Certainly not consumers, much less farmers and cheese producers. The large-scale retail trade is smiling, benefiting from higher margins to the detriment of other players in the supply chain.”

More generally, the entire price of milk has fallen this year: «The farmgate price has fallen on average by more than 20% in 2023 while the financial costs have almost tripled – claims Alfredo Lucchini, vice president of the dairy section of Confagricoltura Emilia Romagna and member of the Op Agri Piacenza Latte -. Germany, the leading exporter of milk to Italy, has returned to pouring the product onto our market after last year’s setback. In this scenario, dairy companies found themselves facing a perfect storm: the wide availability in warehouses, however, accompanied by a drastic decline in demand also due to the decline in consumption of many dairy products”.

The situation of those who produce milk within the Grana Padano supply chain is different, thanks to the good prices of the PDO product: «Unfortunately, however – adds Lucchini – the producers of Grana Padano also contribute to weighing down the drinking milk market, pouring the surpluses into it production of the relevant consortia”. The Grana Padano Consortium, however, rejects this last accusation: «The assertion that in 2023 the Grana Padano system expelled milk, burdening other sectors, is false – claims its general director, Stefano Berni -. However, exactly the opposite happened because the increase in the quantity of milk transformed in 2023 in Grana Padano was approximately 5% higher than the previous year, therefore much more than the milk production trend in Northern Italy. The Grana Padano system has therefore taken milk away from other segments, lightening them, certainly not weighing them down.”

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