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Black Forest ham, an item also protected by means of price

27/06/2012 11:10

Located in southwestern part of Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg, Black Forest area is recognized for the high quality of the ham produced here. Within the European Union, the ham produced here using the traditional recipes benefits of a protected geographical indication. Being hundreds years old and passed from one generation to another, technological process involves a period of at least three months. Raw ham, salted and spiced with coriander, pepper, garlic, juniper berries and other spices is left to macerate for two weeks. After the salt is removed it is stored like this for another two weeks and then for several weeks a process of cold smoking in pine wood smoke is applied. In the end the ham obtains its famous red color but also the rich flavor coming from the smoking process.

The product thus resulted, pride of the German food industry, is also found on the Romanian market, due to some retail chains that have included it in their own assortment under various brands. To be more precisely we are talking about three retail chains - Kaufland, Lidl and Penny Market - all of German origin which explains the affinity for this appreciated product. In all three cases, the items come from certified producers from the Black Forest area, which gives them the status of products with protected geographical indication.

The price as additional protection for products

Protected against counterfeiting by the logo recognized at European level, the items are found in the three retail chains mentioned above under the following brands:

  • Kaufland - Best Farm Schwarzwälder Schinken 100g
  • Lidl - Schwarzwaldrauch Sunca din Padurea Neagra 100g
  • Penny Market - Wein's Schwarzwälder Schinken 100g

If in what concerns Kaufland and Lidl we are talking about items being under their private brands, in case of the product from Penny Market it is about an exclusive import under producer brand. Moreover, the latter comes from the same manufacturer that it's behind the private brand Best Farm from Kaufland.

At a closer monitoring of the products, behind the same weight found in all three cases, there is no possibility not to observe the uniformity of the shelf price. Basically, regardless of brand and network, today the ham coming from the Black Forest can be bought at the same price on the Romanian market. Nothing bad some would say. But when we are talking about commerce, coincidences are scarce, even more so when it comes to private brands. By its definition a private brand is created as an alternative to competing products. A solution designed to clearly distinguish that retail chain in front of consumers. Such cases in which three competing retail chains simultaneously adopts the same price at the shelf are extremely rare and the lack of response in front of competition seems to be part of a marketing strategy. Even when one of the products is subject to a promotional campaign, the other two remain locked on the same price level, without the slightest reaction to counteract. It is an interesting strategy aiming somehow to additionally protect a traditional product.

Florin Frasineanu


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