Differences between PGI and PDO labels

Although at first these acronyms may seem strange to you, you have seen them more than you think. Many foods, beverages and different consumer products have these labels in which they give information that allows them to be differentiated.

These two acronyms are an attempt by Europe to promote and protect its traditional agricultural products, its quality food and its centuries-old production. These two labels allow consumers to recognize your Protected Designation of Origin (PDO) and the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI).


The appellation of origin (DO) is a geographical indication used in a product that has a specific geographical origin, whose qualities, reputation and characteristics are essentially due to its place of origin. The geographical indication (PGI) generally corresponds to the name of the place of origin of the products. Italy is currently the country with the largest number of products (agricultural and food) with PDO and PGI.

These two acronyms were born from different proposals made by the Ministries of Agricultural Policies of each country, which at the same time, subject their manufacturers to regular controls by an independent certification body. This consensus between countries allows PGI and PDO to be authorized and protected throughout the European Union, so the next time we see them, let us know that they are labels that have been put under a lot of criteria and examination.

The differences

As a summary, the qualities and properties of the products with PDOs are exclusively determined by the geographical environment, while the main factor for the products of PGI is a characteristic of a certain quality that is attributable to its geographical origin.

Protected Designation of Origin. This brand identifies a product that “originates from a place whose quality or characteristics are exclusively tied to a particular geographic environment (raw materials, location, climate …) and human factors (traditional and artisanal production) determine the production, processing and preparation steps that are carried out in the defined geographic area and in line with the strict established production standards ”.

This means that the whole chain of the product is made in the same place: production, processing and preparation. For example, in wines, this means that the grapes must come exclusively from the geographical area where they are made.

Protected Geographical Indication. The difference is that the quality, reputation or characteristics is essentially attributable to its geographical origin, or at least one of the steps of production takes place there. Taken to the products and following the example of wine, it means that at least 85% of the grapes used come exclusively from the geographical area to be highlighted.