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How a region benefits from regionally labelled cheese products in Austria: a model-based empirical assessment along different value chains

Gusenbauer, Isabella, Bartel-Kratochvil, Ruth, Markut, Theresia, Hörtenhuber, Stefan, Schermer, Markus, Ausserladscheider, Valentina, Lindenthal, Thomas
Organic agriculture 2019 v.9 no.1 pp. 13-27
cheeses, direct marketing, food production, life cycle assessment, models, nutritive value, organic production, socioeconomic factors, supermarkets, supply chain, Austria
The major aim of the study is to analyse six Austrian value chains of regionally labelled cheese along the whole food value chain concerning their potential socio-economic benefit for the labelled region. Twenty-eight quantitative as well as qualitative indicators, with a potentially positive impact on the region, were used to assess these value chains. An assessment model was developed, which is based on indicators focusing on socio-economic issues concerning regional and corporate resilience, which should be understood as a complementary method to environmental accounting methods such as life cycle assessments. The analysed value chains reach 37 to 79% of the maximum possible benefit for the region. Variation is highly dependent on whether the value chain was conventional and retailed nationally or organic with direct marketing. Whereas the results of all the analysed organic value chains with retailing via supermarket are rather similar to each other (their results reach around 58% of the maximum). Interestingly, milk products, organic as well as conventional, which are sold directly, induce the highest socio-economic benefit for their production region, whereas organic value chains receive slightly more points than conventional when sold via supermarkets. The results of the value chains analysed with the method are consistent and comprehensible if the complex system of food production, processing and retailing is examined in detail. As a result, this study shows the importance of developing methods for assessing the socio-economic impact on value chains in food production. This is of increasing relevance as regionally labelled food is a globally expanding trend.