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Regional branding and local agrifood systems

Posted on | February 8, 2015 | Comments Off

WG7 – Regional branding and local agrifood systems: strategies, governance, and impacts

Regional branding initiatives are more and more spread as a mean for reconnecting agrifood products to places and, by this way, for creating value in rural areas. Regional branding encompasses several types of initiatives, ranging from very formal ones – such as geographical indications protected under EU quality policy schemes (PDOs and PGIs) – to umbrella strategies where links between products and place are very weak. Regional branding initiatives differ in many respects, in particular as regards degree of formalization, governance and institutional arrangements, role of farmers, existence of written rules and of control systems, geographical scale of the initiative (from very localized initiatives to big regions), strength of the connection with local resources.

Regional branding initiatives are expected to support the development of local agrifood systems and to exert positive impacts on rural development, both directly (income, employment) and indirectly (activation of other local economic activities like tourism). However so far little has been done to evaluate and compare the many types of impacts, which depend inter alia on the type and design of the regional brand, the level of use by firms, the collective initiatives aiming at linking producers and consumers. The few available studies show a scattered and uneven picture. For this reason this working group aims at sharing empirical evidences, thoughts and methodologies on the economic, social, agronomical and environmental effects of regional branding, with a special focus on the resilience of local agri-food production systems, multifunctional agriculture, and rural areas.

Contributions are welcome on the following topics:
• Critical issues in the setting process of regional brands, role of different initiators and of local public actors, governance issues
• Comparisons between different types of regional branding initiatives, also from a juridical point of view: protected GIs, collective geographical trademarks, umbrella hallmarks, other quality labels
• Institutional arrangements and public policies supporting regional branding dynamics and their integration with tourism
• Methodologies of evaluation of the effects at firm, supply-chain, and rural area level
• Economic effects of regional branding for firms, local supply chains and rural areas; social effects (employment, social cohesion, collective action, gender issues …); socio-technical effects (local knowledge for food elaboration, recovering of the local recipes …); environmental effects (support to multifunctional agriculture, management of specific local resources, agro-biodiversity preservation …).
• Consumers’ willingness-to-pay for products bearing regional brands
• Regional branding and short/alternative food supply chains
• Regional branding in HORECA circuits and in public food procurement systems


Giovanni Belletti, University of Firenze, Italy
Andrea Marescotti, University of Firenze, Italy
François Casabianca, INRA Corte and coordinator of the SYAL European Research Group
Emilie Vandecandelaere, FAO, Rome, Italy


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