The Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association has finally won Protected Geographical Indication status from the European Commission for its pies after 10 years of wrangling with rivals.
Approval by Brussels means only producers located in and around Melton Mowbray can use the name of the town in branding and marketing.
The PGI award has given hope to other supplier associations seeking similar status for products such as Cornish pasties and south west beef and lamb.
South west beef and lamb producers hope to be the next to achieve PGI status, having received Defra's approval, which is now being considered by Brussels. The Cornish Pasty Association is still awaiting Defra's verdict four years after it applied but said it was hopeful of hearing from Defra soon.
Many of the issues that arose from the pork pie case had been taken into account in its application, it added.
"I hope this move encourages other regional producers to seek the recognition they deserve for their distinctive products," said MMPPA chairman Matthew O'Callaghan. "This is good news for all regional foods in Britain. They now have a bright future."
The pork pie victory follows 10 years of objections and court cases led by Leeds-based Northern Foods, which had previously produced Melton Mowbray pies outside the designated area through its former subsidiary Pork Farms. Northern Foods withdrew its objection in October 2006 and later sold the business to private equity firm Vision Capital. Pork Farms moved production of the pies inside the zone last year and is now an MMPPA associate member.
"The award of PGI for Melton Mowbray pork pies safeguards our regional food heritage, protects our local jobs and gives the consumer value for money," said O'Callaghan. "Fundamentally, it stops people using the name and reputation of Melton Mowbray for commercial gain alone and ensures that the market is not devalued."
Providing no further objections are received from other EU member states, the PGI status will come into force in October.