This paper presents a method to assess the success of some PDO cheeses in a comparative way. The first part is a review of different meanings of the concept of performance according to the main theoretical approaches. We give a definition of the filière and select some criteria to assess the competitive position and the attractiveness of the reference markets in order to get an evaluation of the success in terms of prices and market shares. We try then to identify the main factors, which influence the competitive position of the product. Our research highlights that the success of the PDO cheeses is determined mainly by four determinants : • The specificity of the product (its typicality, price, convenience, taste, symbolic component and its representation by the consumers) ; • The effectiveness of the co-ordination (code of practice, governance structure, variety and quality management, promotional and research policies, lobbying ability) ; • The market attractiveness ; • The public supports. In conclusion, the concept of filière has to be studied more in depth at the theoretical level. If it is possible to highlight the role played by these production channels (several small-scaled firms) on the rural employment, it will be necessary to set up a better legal framework to encourage their activities and common strategies.


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