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Abstract

Quality is a key factor when consumers choose agri-food products, but at the same time is difficult for them to assess. On the demand side, consumers require protection measures, and on the supply side, efficient communications need to be available to all operators, including those who cannot afford to supply their own. In this context, quality markers such as logos, brands and indications or denominations that distinguish a product from its competitors can be a strategic way of transmitting information, especially for firms which cannot afford resources for communications or their own brand name. This research analyses and assesses the role of brands and territorial markers (PDO, PGI) in enhancing and promoting “very fresh” food products, in particular fruit and vegetables. The first part of the work identifies the most widely used quality markers, and the legal and organisational aspects for some of them. The second part is empirical and includes case studies on PDO and PGI, two company brands (Melinda and Marlene) in the fruit and vegetable sector and, finally, one collective brand, “QC – Qualità Controllata” set up by a regional authority, Emilia Romagna Region. Our case studies lead to the conclusion that collective brands and indications or denominations alone are not a sufficient condition for commercial success. What is essential, on top of basic product requisites, is the organisation of supply and brand strategy.

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