Mountain Products are specific products
Mountain products are products of which the raw material is produced in mountain areas and, in the case of processed products, their processing occurs in mountain areas. They include a wide array of products, from dairy products, to meat, fruits, oil olive but also pastries, mineral water or medicinal plants, among others.
Mountain products have specific characteristics attributable to the environment in which they are produced, to the quality of natural resources used, and to traditional techniques and know-how employed in their production and processing. These production conditions create specific qualities in terms of taste, aromas, colour, texture, etc.
A potential market to exploit
Mountains convey an image of purity and of tradition. Mountain products are perceived by consumers as environmentally friendly products which support the local economy and culture and contribute to the maintenance of landscapes that are dear to them. This strong common identity constitutes a market potential which still largely remains to be exploited by mountain agro-food supply chain actors. 86% of consumers questioned in the framework of the EuroMARC project declared themselves favourable to a specific labelling of mountain products.
On 13th September , 2012, rewarding 12 years of Euromontana commitment to the issue, the European Parliament officially approved a new regulation reserving the use of the term “mountain product” to food products produced and processed in mountain areas (regulation (EU) No 1151/2012). This regulation entered into force in December 2012 and it was supplemented by the Delegated Act (EU) No 665/2014 approved in July 2014, which specifies the conditions of use of the optional quality term ‘mountain product’.
Member States are now implementing this optional quality scheme for mountain products (see our article on the state-of-the-art of the implementation of the optional quality scheme)
Policy: the European Charter for mountain quality food products
Euromontana uses its research and cooperation work to promote a European approach to the protection, promotion and development of mountain quality food products.
To this end, Euromontana built on the European Charter for Mountain quality food products, launched in 2005 at the European Parliament. The Charter defines principles to respect in order to achieve a development of mountain products which contributes to sustainable territorial development.
Building on progress made since 2005, including the adoption of the optional quality scheme for mountain products in 2012 (see upper), Euromontana updated the Charter in 2016.
The 2016 version of the European Charter for Mountain Quality Food Products has been developed since the adoption of the optional quality food term, « mountain product », in order to encourage the European Union to go further in the protection and promotion of mountain quality food products.
Up to July 2017, we have collected more than 540 signatures. The launch of the Charter will be presented during a conference on “How to better valorise mountain food products” in Brussels on 18 October 2017.
Quality policy for agri-food products
Euromontana continues to contribute to the debate on European, national and regional policies which are likely to have an impact on mountain products, especially the quality policy for agro-food products which defines official quality schemes and associated labels and the rural development policy which creates measures dedicated to the development of quality supply chains.
Civil Dialogue Group on Quality and Promotion (DG Agri)
Euromontana has been allocated a seat in the civil dialogue group on quality and promotion of agri-food products of the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission, for a 7-year period starting in September 2014.
This group aims to hold a regular dialogue, assist and advise the Commission on policy in the fields of quality and on the promotion programme, as well as monitor policy developments in those matters. The civil dialogue group replaces the former advisory group on quality of agri-food products, where Euromontana used to participate as expert member.
See the track record of Euromontana’s actions during the quality policy reform on this page
Rural development policy
Euromontana also promotes a targeted approach to the needs of mountain agro-food supply chains in its position on the CAP and the rural development policy.
- See the page agriculture and rural development
In particular, we advocate for mountain food supply chains to gain access to rural development quality measures.
Euromontana’s actions on mountain quality products are built on scientific bases resulting from two European research projects.
- Mountain quality food products project (2002 – 2004)
Initiated in October 2002, this project addresses the stakes of improved characterisation and European knowledge of mountain agro-food products. With the support of representatives of the agricultural sector, Euromontana decided to survey agro-food product quality as a vehicle of rural development in mountain areas. Therefore, with the help of some of its members, Euromontana launched a survey funded by the 5th Research Framework Programme of the European Commission
- EuroMARC (2007 – 2010)
The main objectives of the EuroMARC project (funded by the FP6 research programme of the European Commission) were to assess the perceptions for and interest of European consumers and retailers of mountain food products in order to find ways of adding value to these products, thus contributing to the survival and management of mountain diversity – biological, rural, cultural and economic.
- A new PAC : Mountains of opportunities
“A new CAP: Mountains of opportunities” is an information measure on the new Common Agricultural Policy for the period 2014-2020 addressed to mountain rural actors and co-funded by the Directorate General for Agriculture and Rural Development of the European Commission. This initiative is coordinated by Euromontana, the European multisectoral association for co-operation and development of mountain territories, in collaboration with 6 of its members from Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, Romania and Slovenia.
- “Labelling mountain food products in Europe“, Alice Dos Santos, February 2017
- In the framework of the new regulatory developments, Euromontana collaborated with ISARA and UHI in a major study conducted by the European Commission Joint Research Centre (IPTS) on mountain foods, which was published in 2013. Report: Labelling of agricultural and food products of mountain farming
- 18 October 2017 | Euromontana organises a conference on “How to better valorise mountain food products” and to launch the European Charter for Mountain food products
- 22–24 October 2014 | IXth European Mountain Convention “Quality from the mountains: prosperity for people and territories” was held in Bilbao (Spain). One of the aims of the IXth European Mountain Convention was to explore how the CAP and other European policies could support the development of mountain value chains, with a special focus on the new optional quality term “Mountain Product” | You can find here all the presentations and the official conclusions here
- 3-4 December 2009 | Euromontana organised the final conference of EuroMARC, Maribor | See the conference proceedings in the pages dedicated to EuroMARC.