Exploring institutional arrangements for local fish product labelling in Tuscany (Italy): A convention theory perspective

Prosperi, Paolo/Vergamini, Daniele/Bartolini, Fabio (2020)

In: Agricultural and Food Economics, 8(6), pp. 1-16. Open Access


“Increasing fish consumption along with rising competition in the global seafood market has brought fisheries and aquaculture producers to adopt several differentiation and marketing strategies. Labelling schemes were thus introduced to respond to a growing demand for traceable and sustainable products. However, the proliferation of quality labels brought to general confusion, calling for collective and public fish labels to ease decision-making. In our case study region (Tuscany, Italy), a number of policy-driven efforts were deployed for establishing regional labelling schemes for fisheries products with no observable impact on the market. Meanwhile, local companies have implemented a number of successful private and regional labels. The purpose of this research is to contribute to potential options for collective regional labelling schemes of fisheries and aquaculture products, through a case study analysis, building on agro-food value-chain and management approaches. Our empirical results highlight key issues and perspectives on labelling policies for local fisheries and aquaculture products.”


“Convention economics build on the paradigm of uncertainty and on the multiple justifications of action as a result of individuals’ and organisations’ belongings to different groups such as “worlds” (Rastoin and Ghersi 2010). Ponte (2016) offers an extensive and overarching literature review of the convention theory applied to the food system. In this respect, convention theory helps identifying that there might be multiple justifications of action operating at the same time, and it highlights that different conventions underpin different forms of organisation, coordination, and exchange between actors (Ponte 2016). The Boltanski and Thévenot’s (1999) convention theory model is based on the identification of different worlds of production. This model has been applied to the food system by a number of scholars (e.g.: Murdoch and Miele 1999; Rastoin and Ghersi 2010; Trabalzi 2007) who identified several sets of “world of foods” to explain the strategic positioning of firms and their movements between worlds by highlighting how different worlds of production can coexist even within individual firms (Ponte 2016).” (p. 4)