Open conflict as differentiation strategy in geographical indications: the Bitto Rebels case

Diego Rinallo, Valentina Pitardi

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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    Purpose: This paper investigates how open, mediatised conflict in geographical indications can provide the basis for differentiation strategies for heritage producers based on both functional and symbolic benefits.

    Design/methodology/approach: Longitudinal case study, based on multiple data sources, which reconstructs the history of the Bitto geographical indications and the conflict between the PDO Bitto Consortium and a small number of heritage Bitto producers.

    Findings: The paper highlights how the mediatised narration of conflict can contribute to raise consumer awareness, differentiate products, and result in symbolic value creation.

    Research limitations/implications: Extreme case study design, purposively chosen as characterised by conditions likely to accentuate conflict.

    Practical implications: The paper develops a conceptual framework that permits to identify the potential for conflict inside geographical indications. It also contributes to a better understanding of the image of products protected by geographical indications and the role played by heritage producers. It also offers practical advice on two promotional tools, namely trade fair participations and experiential showcases.

    Social implications: The paper offers practical advice on the safeguarding of small producers localised in cultural epicentres inside geographical indications.

    Originality/value: We introduce the notions, such as competitive wars and secession, that contribute to a better understanding of centripetal/centrifugal forces inside geographical indications. We also propose a better understanding of image creation of geographical indications, grounded in cultural work in marketing and consumer research.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)3102-3118
    Number of pages17
    JournalBritish Food Journal
    Issue number12
    Early online date24 Jul 2019
    Publication statusPublished - 21 Nov 2019


    • Geographical Indications
    • conflict
    • longitudinal case study
    • Bitto cheese
    • competitive wars
    • experiential showcases
    • taste education
    • storytelling
    • differentiation strategy


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