Have you ever picked up an olive oil bottle and seen the words IGP on the label?

When shopping for European food products, it’s common to see the acronym “IGP” or “PGI” on the label. In fact, here at Zucchi 1810, we have a few extra virgin olive oils with this designation. So what exactly does IGP mean and how does it apply to olive oil? Let us explain!

What does IGP/PGI mean?

IGP, or PGI in English, stands for Indicazione Geografica Protetta (Protected Geographical Indication). It’s a special designation given to European food products that are closely linked to a geographical area. In order for a product to have the IGP designation, at least one of the stages of production, processing, or preparation must take place in the claimed area. 

For example, our Toscano IGP extra virgin olive oil is made from olives harvested only in the region of Tuscany. The olives are pressed, blended, and bottled in Tuscany,  then shipped to our headquarters in Cremona. Since the first stages of production occur in Tuscany, this olive oil can claim IGP status. 

There are also many other technical and sensory requirements that a “Toscano IGP” labeled olive oil must meet, such as acidity levels and aromatic properties appropriate for the region. All IGP products must also follow clear packaging guidelines.

What is the purpose of IGP designation?

The IGP label is used to help protect centuries-old traditions and food heritage. It’s commonly applied to food products with a rich tradition such as wine, cheese, charcuterie, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and even unique fruits and vegetables. 

In some ways, the IGP designation is like a company patent or trademark. It prevents others from trying to imitate a traditional product and steal away the brand name and equity from the artisans who make them. The IGP label helps protect producers of these specialty food products and provides you, the consumer, with a guarantee that you are receiving the real stuff.

Who awards the IGP designation?

For every food, there is a quality control committee that thoroughly tests and reviews the product for its authenticity. In Italy, this is often known as a consorzio, or “consortium,” a panel of experts that thoroughly reviews and tests each and every batch of products applying for IGP status. Applying for IGP designation is a rigorous process that requires a lot of time and documentation!

How do I know if a product is IGP or PGI?

It’s simple: look for the seal somewhere on the product label. The IGP symbol is a blue and yellow starburst circle containing the following words: Protected Geographical Indication.

IGP Logo Italy

Here at Zucchi 1810, you can find the IGP label on two of our regional extra virgin olive oils: Toscano IGP and Siciliano IGP. Both of these products must follow strict guidelines in order to bear their regional name and have the IGP label.

Our Toscano IGP is made from 95% or more Tuscan olive cultivars. It must also have certain characteristics, including a green to golden yellow color, a fruity aroma and flavor profile, as well as follow certain packaging and labeling guidelines.

Our Siciliano IGP is made from 90% of more Sicilian olive cultivars that were grown in a particular climate with specific temperature ranges and levels of humidity. Similar to the Toscano, it must meet certain sensory and technical specifications and follow the correct labeling practices.

Learn more about these regional oils and how to use them.