Since 1985 the farm ‘Bertinelli’ at Medesano, on the hills in the province of Parma, has produced milk and processed it in order to prepare one of the noblest and most famous cheeses in the world, the DOP Parmigiano Reggiano. This cheese boasts a more than nine century old story. Thanks to the choices made in the last decade by the owners, Gianni and Nicola Bertinelli, today Bertinelli farm is one of the few companies in the area which, in managing independently all the productive stages of the milk chain, from working in the fields until the marketing of cheese, is a perfect example of vertical integration. The mix of tradition and creativity is the strength of this historic company, which since 2002 has been able to reinvent itself thanks to Nicola’s passion and expertise as well as a highly innovative business model for this sector, based on 4 different, but complementary business units. This choice has allowed Bertinellis to have at their disposal the liquidity necessary for maintaining all their activities, expanding their business all over the world, and decupling their proceeds of sales in less than ten years.
‘Il Millesimato’ and ‘Il Senza’
The main product realized every day in 20 cheeses is obviously the DOP Parmigiano Reggiano, proposed in different ripening stages: 15, 24 and 36 months. 600 litres of milk are needed for every produced cheese.
Part of this cheese, called the ‘Millesimato’, is realized by using milk coming from cows which have calved a few days before: this is the real flagship of Bertinelli production. The milk coming from early lactation is a concentrated in protein and calcium, and allows producing a very scented Parmigiano Reggiano, which reminds the alfalfa of the Emilian Apennines, with a very volatile accent of leather, whose taste is sweet and balanced, velvety, and never spicy or aggressive. Four ripening stages of the ‘Millesimato’ are marketed: 12, 24, 30, and 36 months.
'Il Senza’ is a revolutionary fresh cheese, suitable for lactose intolerants’ diet, as well as for diabetics, coeliacs, and vegetarians. It is obtained by transforming only milk from cows which graze on the hills of Parma and also produced with vegetable rennet. It is free from additives and preservatives, sugars and gluten, and, thanks to Omega 3 fatty acids it contains, it helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases.
A worldwide export
Nicola Bertinelli, who obtained two degrees, a master's degree in Economics at the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Guelph, Canada, and spent four years as Professor of Economics in the same Country, tells the story of its flagship products. «The idea of the Millesimato emerged for a very important reason: diversify our production in comparison with our competitors in a sector in which there is the belief that all the Parmigiano Reggiano are the same. Il Senza, however, is born from the need to create an ‘ad hoc’ cheese for my niece, who suffers from food allergies; hence the desire to extend it to all: lactose intolerants, diabetics, and coeliacs. We export 80% of our production all over the world, from Australia to Japan, from Russia to the USA, from Mexico to South America, up to Qatar, Uzbekistan, and Hong Kong. In order to distribute our products in Europe, we rely on retailers, both large-scale retail trade and traditional retailers, while in the rest of the world we rely on specialized importers. We have invested considerable resources in our traceability system, as well as in the packaging of our products, because we consider it essential in order to increase the added value of our cheeses. For instance, for the Millesimato we designed 4 colour lines associated with different ripening, valuable papers, and special weights, embossed labels, sheets of paper inside the packaging with matched colour, for an optimal preservation of the Parmigiano, as well as jute bags with gold decorations. All this is aimed at conveying the message that our Parmigiano is quite unique, characterized by great preciousness and value».