Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From?

(CC BY Robert Couse-Baker)
(CC BY Robert Couse-Baker)

At the end of March, meat producers in North America, including Tyson Foods Inc. and Hormel Foods Corp., lost an appeal to suspend new country-of-origin labeling laws, claiming it violated their first amendment rights. The law has been a hot topic of debate, with some claiming that labeling is a food safety tool and others that it’s merely a consumer information program. So how much is actually known about the practice of Country-of-origin labeling? An article entitled “Twenty Years of Country-of-Origin Food Labeling Research: A Review of the Literature and Implications for Food Marketing Systems” researched this topic, available now from the Journal of Macromarketing.

The abstract:

Recent legislation by the United States and European Union governments now mandates the provision ofJMMK_new C1 template.indd country-of-origin (COO) information at the point of purchase for a variety of meats, fruits, vegetables, and other assorted food products. To better understand the significance of these regulatory changes, two decades of existing COO food labeling research are synthesized, reviewed, and discussed. The implications for two primary sets of actors within aggregate marketing systems, consumers and practitioners, are then discussed from a macromarketing perspective. Based on the reviewed literature, the authors conclude that little generalizable knowledge about COO food labeling effects exists, and further identify a lack of sufficient theoretical application and development as a primary reason. Consequently, the exact impact of mandatory (and voluntary) COO labeling initiatives for consumers and practitioners still remains unclear and highly debatable. Thus, as these initiatives continue to make country-of-origin labeling more commonplace around the world, it is crucial that additional theory-driven research be conducted, especially from a macromarketing perspective, to foster more generalizable knowledge about the complex role of COO information in aggregate food marketing systems.

Read “Twenty Years of Country-of-Origin Food Labeling Research: A Review of the Literature and Implications for Food Marketing Systems” from Journal of Macromarketing for free by clicking here. Click here to sign up for e-alerts and stay up to date on all the latest from Journal of Macromarketing.

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