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Abstract

This paper would like to relate theoretically and empirically, territorial production of typical products, product characteristics and consumer knowledge. It will intertwine two theoretical approaches : • The first one is an approach of "territoriality" which essentially boils down to the existence of specific assets managed by local actors in their interaction process, internal or external. In this setting, spatial proximity is often a proxy for cognitive proximity which enhances innovation processes. • The second one is the approach of the consumption process developed by "New Household Economics, specifically Lancaster, as a "consumption technology" relating products and characteristics. This technology requires that the consumer know the relevant characteristics of products, which can be achieved by "proximity" with the product. By this intertwining we would like to show that the cognitive relationship between the consumer and the product in agri-food markets could be an example of specific asset as long as the knowledge of the product rests on a specific relationship to the area of production. Some examples picked in various countries, developed and developing, will illustrate this point. Labelling seems more likely to emerge in developed countries than in developing ones, as the institutional environment is more reliable. But, in both cases, the feasibility of territorial labelling seems linked to consumer's knowledge and learning as regards territorial characteristics of the product.

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