Geographical origin: meaningful reference or marketing tool?

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper/skriftligt oplægForskningpeer review


Why are labels referring to geographical origin deeper rooted in consumer-perceptions in France than in Denmark? This paper addresses the question based on a study carried out in France and Denmark between 2011 and 2014

The historical background attests that the labelling according to geographical origin was the result of a crisis in French wine-production in the early 20th century. Labelling was intended to protect the reputation of a product in terms of quality and taste by referring to parcels of land where specific traditions are maintained and the resulting products embedded in collective dimensions of local culture. The French label served as inspiration for the European PDO/PGI-labels, but even if these labels are known in Denmark only five products are PDO-branded

The data-collection in Denmark indicated little trust in increased sales through PDO-labelling. This was contrary to data collected in France where geographical origin is perceived as indicator of quality. A possible explanation resides in the double standards rendered possible by the European labels as they refer to provenance as well as geographical origin. Provenance means to issue from a place in the sense that the place of production can be positioned on a map, but there is no precise standard for the rootedness of the product in this place. Origin means to be from a place in the sense that natural factors, cultural practices and historical links contribute to the understanding of the link between food and place. In this respect, the place of origin becomes more than a point on a map. It becomes representations of the past and expectations of taste in the sense of re-tasting

It is likely that the differences in consumer-perceptions reside in the interplay between origin and provenance. In France, geographical origin constitutes a meaningful reference to a link between food and place that represents expectations of taste and quality. In Denmark, this link is not attributed similar meaning and, hence, the difference between meaningful references and images formed through the language of marketing is less discernible. In the latter, claims of authenticity may replace historical embeddedness
Publikationsdato15 maj 2015
StatusUdgivet - 15 maj 2015