Quality on vacation

AOP vs. BOB vs. BGA

Summer has arrived, so it's time for a well-deserved vacation! Before going home, you might buy a souvenir or local delicacy. Many of these products have a sticker that indicates for example the origin of the product. But what is the difference between blue and red stickers? And what exactly is it: a designation of origin? 

Three times quality

A first quality label is the Protected Designation of Origin (PDO). This label is awarded to products made in a particular region that have specific characteristics because they are produced, processed and prepared completely in that region according to the local methods. Some examples are Parmigiano Reggiano, Parmesan cheese, and Champagne from France's Champagne region.

Another quality label is the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI). This one is also used to indicate that a particular product comes from a particular region and that it has certain characteristics of that region. The important difference with the PDO label is that the conditions for obtaining a PGI label are less strict.  For example, it is sufficient that the product is produced, or processed, or prepared in the specific region. In other words, the product only has to be produced partially in the specific region. Some local examples are the Azalea flowers of Ghent, but also the Jambon d'Ardenne. Until recently, vineyards in the French department of Corrèze were also protected as PGIs, but white, red and straw wines have recently moved to the stricter protection PDO.

The third and final quality label is the Guaranteed Traditional Specialty (TSG). This label simply confirms that a product is made in a traditional way, giving it certain characteristics that are different from similar products in the same category.

A product can be considered traditional if it has been sold on the EU market for a period of at least 30 years without any changes. Therefore, a link to a specific region is not required to obtain this label. Some examples of TSG products are Mozzarella cheese and Belgian Lambic beers. For example, the Belgian dairy cooperative Milcobel is one of the largest Mozzarella producers in Europe.


From protected origin to ground for refusal

In addition, it is important to notice that the mentioned protected indications of origin may form a ground for refusal when applying for trademark registration. This means that your trademark application can be refused on absolute grounds if your trademark corresponds to a protected indication of origin.

Quality labels also can't be equated with mentions such as "Made in Belgium," for which uniform rules do not apply. As an alternative, Remarkable created for Fevia the trademark as a label brand to actively promote all Belgian food companies abroad. And with this, the expressive slogan was also created; Small Country. Great Food.

We also refer to an earlier blog about Toblerone, which is no longer allowed to mention "from Switzerland" on its packaging.