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Consumers’ Quality Conventions in Alternative, Conventional, and High-End Food Chains

Abstract

This chapter focuses on the analysis of quality conventions in five different food chains, both alternative and conventional ones. In line with quality conventions theory, we consider quality as an emergent social construct of a specific social field where strategic maneuvering takes place. After a descriptive analysis of how quality conventions are connected to consumers’ conventions and chains’ attributes, Barbera, Dagnes, and Di Monaco illustrate the interplay and overlapping of quality conventions in alternative, conventional, and high-end food chains. Specifically, they argue that high-end food retailers mimic AFNs in order to satisfy consumers’ desire for “alternative” quality conventions.

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Fig. 5.4

Notes

  1. 1.

    Piedmont Region Department of Trade (see: www.regione.piemonte.it/gestione/commercio/mercati/dynIndex.php).

  2. 2.

    Source data: Retegas, Italian network of SPGs (see www.economiasolidale.net). Since online registration is voluntary, Retegas has estimated on the basis of several local studies that there are about twice as many unregistered solidarity purchasing groups (Grasseni, 2013).

  3. 3.

    The total number of questionnaires refers to valid cases for which the supply chain where the administration occurred is the predominant, or at least habitual, place of food purchase.

  4. 4.

    To randomize the survey, in each supply chain the interviewers contacted one consumer out of every five, regularly varied the point of administration (rotating in different locations in the markets or supermarkets), and operated on different days of the week (from Monday to Saturday) and time slots (morning, afternoon, and evening).

  5. 5.

    The three strata included (1) markets with 1–4 farmers’ stalls, (2) markets with 5–8 farmers’ stalls, and (3) markets with 9–13 farmers’ stalls.

  6. 6.

    Minimum age 19, maximum age 86, standard deviation 16.2. Data were missing for five respondents (0.5%).

  7. 7.

    With regard to age, data were missing for 162 respondents (14.9%).

  8. 8.

    We estimated the parameters of a linear regression. In the model, the reference group is that of the large-scale system consumers, with the following social profile: working class male, over 65 years old, born in the South of Italy, and having a low income.

  9. 9.

    R. Fiori, Eataly è unica come Benigni, “La Stampa”, December 21, 2014.

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Barbera, F., Dagnes, J., Di Monaco, R. (2018). Consumers’ Quality Conventions in Alternative, Conventional, and High-End Food Chains. In: Corsi, A., Barbera, F., Dansero, E., Peano, C. (eds) Alternative Food Networks. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90409-2_5

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-90409-2_5

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