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Cheese Manufacturing in the Twentieth Century

The Italian Experience in an International Context


Edited By Rita Maria Michela d'Errico, Claudio Besana and Renato Ghezzi

Since the end of the nineteenth century the dairy sectors of some industrialised European and American countries have experienced a phase of growth that took place at a different rate and in a different manner in each country, and which was made possible by the availability of raw materials and a more widespread knowledge of scientific and technological methods. The sector’s expansion was favoured by a revolution in transport networks, the beginning of globalisation in world markets and, decisively, by advances in packaging and refrigeration techniques. Italy in particular, despite its low availability of raw materials compared to other countries, rose quickly throughout the last century to become one of the largest international producers and exporters of cheese, especially of high value PDO cheeses. What factors were behind this achievement and which were the strengths and weaknesses of the sector during the twentieth century? The articles presented in this volume attempt to provide an answer to these questions from different points of view and using different interpretative approaches. The geographical range covered by these studies also reaches beyond Italy in order to look at other countries with relatively ancient dairy traditions. This comparative approach, although limited to just a few countries, is important in that it allows us to describe the evolution of a milk and dairy sector which has had such a large influence on the economic life of many regions in the Italian peninsula.

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Foreword. The Dairy and Agri-food Industries (Francesco Chiapparino)


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The Dairy and Agri-food Industries


Università Politecnica delle Marche

Food manufacturing is in many ways unlike other sectors. It was rarely at the forefront of industrial and technological innovations and, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, was represented by a loose conglomerate embracing a wide range of manufacturing styles, covering all levels of participation within the secondary sector. Purely agricultural activities were at one end of this scale of participation, with products like vegetables, legumes and fruit, that required almost no processing, while at the other end were the “modern” industries born in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries during the age of technological innovation. The latter included manufacturers of chocolate and preserves, and the large market-dominating businesses made possible by the second industrial revolution, such as sugar manufacturers. The agricultural producers mentioned above constituted the foundation upon which a large part of the nineteenth-century food sector was built, and were themselves extremely varied in character: even pre-industrial economies like grain and oil production necessitated the use of mechanical equipment like mills and oil presses, thus involving a far greater use of processing structures than was the case for other sectors such as wine-making and dairy production, and therefore were far more dependent upon large-scale financial investments. Other processing techniques, for example those used in the manufacture of liquors, pasta, bread and pastries, should, however, be seen as urban rather than rural phenomena due to their artisan...

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