Calabrian liquorice has been awarded ‘DOP’ status (protected origin certification) by the EU. The notion of DOP is tied to the idea of territory and the importance of using raw materials and production methods from a certain region as a measure of authenticity.
Nature Med history and the history of PDO Calabrian liquorice started way back in time. It was 1886 when the Zagarese family built a production line for the transformation of the liquorice root. They farmed the Rigulizia Cordara on their land and the new liquorice products were initially reserved for friends and family. This was only the beginning of a successful story. The first rudimentary production line became an established industry across Europe and Zagarese’s products left Calabria to win several prizes, both in Italy and abroad. They won the gold medal of Antwerp and Nice in 1894 and the Grand Prix at the International Exhibition of Paris in 1900.
After WW2, not much was left of the liquorice industry. Only few conci (small plants dedicated to liquorice production) survived the war and even they progressively fell into disuse. There were shortages of liquorice root, once the flagship of Calabrian industry; citrus fruit cultivation took over and was generally preferred to liquorice farming. Companies such as Nature Med have given the industry a new lease of life.
Nature Med's philosophy is to work alongside local producers with the primary objective of preserving the local supply chain. Nature Med achieved this objective by converting land to liquorice root farming, promoting and expanding the liquorice culture and cultivation in Calabria. But most importantly, Nature Med has significantly contributed to the establishment of the Liquorice Supply Chain, now officially recognised by the Calabrian Government (Regione Calabria) and a stepping stone towards PDO certification. It is an important achievement, which aims at restoring the prestige of the liquorice sector. It also introduces stricter controls on the traceability of the roots being processed, tackling, and hopefully completely eliminating, the ever-increasing risk of Calabrian industries using foreign liquorice roots.
Nature Med is the leader, in Italy and the rest of the world, of the real organic, PDO, Calabrian liquorice.