Labelling origin food product: towards sustainable rural development?

This research project focuses on the study (exploration, explanation, and comparison) of two contrasting food labelling strategies, and their contribution to the sustainable development of the territory.

Research summary

They are, first, the strategy that centres on the protection of a specific products (such as Protected Designation of Origin), and secondly, the strategy that aims at protecting a territorial community (regional label). Both labels are grounded in local and collective action, but there are many differences between them. Whilst PDOs are strongly institutionalised labels, regional labels are open models; associated with this there are different degrees of flexibility and rigidity.

On the theoretical level this project helps to explore state-farmers relation, in the first place because it illustrates how existing institutional frameworks impact upon the development of labelling strategies, and secondly, it shows how these relations might be changed through constructivist actions. The concept of sustainability within rural communities is also approached, because this project analyses the contribution of these new institutional frameworks to the sustainable development of the territory. This research also contributes to the understanding of origin food labels. We will address the different tendencies within the EU, where southern countries have a tendency towards the first strategy and northern countries towards the second one. Central in the methodology of the proposed research are the interface analysis (Long, 1989) and the actor oriented approach (Long, 2001).

Co-supervisor: prof.dr. EncarnaciĆ³n Aguilar Criado (Universidad de Sevilla, Spain)