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Abstract

The paper addresses recent changes in the Norwegian agrifood industry from the analytical perspective of quality conventions. Storper and Salais’ “worlds of production” plus Boltanski and Thévenots’ “orders of worth” are used as a basis for the empirical study. First, the paper discusses how the largest Norwegian branders try to strategically adapt to “novel” quality attributes like health-enhancing food, origin/terroir, environmental sustainability and ethics. Second, the paper investigates the companies’ quality signalling strategy: How are these “novel” qualities communicated to consumers? Multiple options are available: Do they attempt to systematically incorporate “novel qualities” into their private brand equity (“conventionalizing qualities”)? Do they prefer a co-labelling scheme with a third party control, or do they use any other measures for quality signalling? The paper thereby discusses how the largest Norwegian branders in the food sector cope with conflicting and competing quality conventions.

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