Parmigiano Reggiano – a peek inside the copper vats

Milk, rennet, salt – and time. Those are all the ingredients in Parmigiano Reggiano. Zanetti, a family company, produces the Italian hard cheese in the Parma province according to an 800-year-old tradition. The ageing rooms that are kept at a maximum of 16 degrees also contain the Parmigiano wheels that professional customers in 15 METRO countries can buy under the METRO Chef brand.

Parmigiano Reggiano – A Peek Inside the Copper Vats

METRO and Zanetti have been working hand in hand since the 1970s. ‘We were a perfect fit from the start,’ says CEO Attilio Zanetti, ‘because we share a passion for quality.’ A cheese that bears the name and the seal awarded by the Consorzio del Parmigiano Reggiano must be made under very specific conditions: The cows may be fed only grass and hay – never silage. They are milked twice a day and their milk is transported no more than 40 kilometres to the dairies. The evening delivery is left to stand so that the cream separates naturally, and the next morning’s delivery is added fresh to the 1,000-litre copper vat. All the work is done by hand.

‘It’s important to METRO that the products we sell are as sustainable as possible,’ says Veronika Pountcheva, Global Director Corporate Responsibility at METRO. Thanks to partnerships with companies that see sustainability as a natural part of their production processes, METRO can offer its professional customers authentic products outside of Italy as well. A METRO Chef Parmigiano Reggiano matures for 12 or 24 months. Any younger and it tastes milder, sweeter and creamier. Age gives it a crumbly consistency and its characteristic flavour.


Regional sourcing for local markets: high-quality food is our core competence and the basis of our business – and that of our customers.

More about the 6 strategic subject areas in the Annual Report 2019/20.

As a partner to the hospitality industry, METRO knows that high-quality products are its core business – under well-known brand names but also under its own brands, METRO Chef and METRO Premium. These items have little in common with goods that carry an entry-level price tag and merely fulfil basic needs. They are the product of the trust that has connected professional customers and METRO for decades. For Flavio Fois, owner and head chef at Euridice Restaurant in Parma, METRO is an ally and a trusted supplier when it comes to consistently sourcing top-quality ingredients from monitored supply chains. ‘What we share with METRO is the culinary ambition to keep getting better all the time,’ he says.

Michael Becker, Director Global Sourcing Fresh & Frozen at METRO, says in a nutshell: ‘If it says METRO on the outside, there’s quality on the inside.’ METRO is well aware of the responsibility that goes along with this pledge and maintains close contact with the producers – which also includes taking a peek inside the copper vats and ageing rooms.

Cows may be fed only grass and hay.
Attilio Zanetti and his daughter Valentina Zanetti.
Flavio Fois, owner and chef of the Euridice Restaurant in Parma.

Further articles