Traditional agrifood products: an expression of Italian cultural heritage

Massimiliano Renna, Angelo Signore, Pietro Santamaria [Dipartimento di Scienze Agroambientali e Territoriali, Università di Bari “Aldo Moro”]

The term "Traditional agri-food products (PAT)" refers to those products whose processing, preservation and maturing methods are practiced in a given territory in a homogeneous manner and according to traditional rules and consolidated over time for a period of no less than twentyfive years. The national list of PATs is published and updated annually by the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy. The first list of 2000 contained 2,188 PAT; in 2018 there are included in the same list 5,056 PAT.
Among the 20 Italian regions, in first place we find Campania (with 515 PAT), followed by Tuscany (461) and Lazio (409). The Campania is also the region with the highest percentage of plant products (223), followed by Tuscany (192), Veneto (118), Liguria and Puglia (both with 101).
In the national list of PAT, it is possible to find numerous plant genetic resources and in particular local varieties, consumed as such or as an ingredient in gastronomic products. European consumers largely say (77%) that respect for local tradition and know-how is an important factor in their decision to buy European food products. In general, consumers associate local products with freshness and genuineness, link with the landscape, adoption of eco-sustainable production methods, traceability, non-approved food and sociality linked to local purchasing.
For all these reasons the PAT represent an
important and original expression of the vast Italian cultural heritage and can become a useful lever for the promotion of Italian territories and agriculture.

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