Quality&Origin

Basket of goods (or territory-based basket of goods and services, as defined by the authors Mollard and Pecqueur) indicates the existence in a given zone of quality products that have a territorial identity and are associated with a body of public and private goods and services (for example, landscape and culture are local public goods, hotels are private services), reinforcing this identity. The combination of this composite supply is carried out by the consumer (his or her basket) present in the zone and creates added value from the consumer’s willingness to pay. The success of this approach presupposes good coordination among private stakeholders and between public and private institutions.


Code of practice (CoP) (or book of requirements, product specification, disciplinary document): a document describing the specific attributes of the GI product in relation to its geographical origin through a description of the product and its manner of production, laying down requirements regarding not only modes of production but also those of processing, packaging, labelling etc., as applicable. Any party using the GI must meet the requirements laid down in the CoP, which is the outcome of a consensus among the stakeholders in the value chain concerned with the GI.


Collective action brings stakeholders together for common objectives that go beyond individual interests.


Consumer deceit: if the indications brought to the consumer’s knowledge are false, we speak of consumer deceit. If the person(s) or enterprise(s) responsible for the deceit are identified, they may be liable to judicial proceedings, under the national or international measures of consumer protection law.


Decent work sums up the aspirations of people in their working lives. It involves opportunities for work that is productive and delivers a fair income, security in the workplace and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to express their concerns, organize and participate in the decisions that affect their lives, and equality of opportunity and treatment for all women and men.


Delocalization of production is a response to the search for a competitive advantage based on cost leadership. On the basis of a comparison of the cost of inputs (capital, labour, other resources), the rationale of management by cost seeks maximum efficiency and depends on full information and the interchangeability of goods for consumers. All things being equal, consumers will choose the cheapest product, without considering such other elements as identity or origin. Special attributes are not taken into consideration – the main difference from the strategy of product differentiation, which seeks attributes to which consumers will be sensitive so as to indicate a preference, including a willingness to pay more. In the case of food products, the attributes for which consumers indicate a willingness to pay more relate mainly to five types of promise: mode of production, origin, tradition, social conditions of production (fair trade) and mode of marketing (Barjolle, Damary and Schaer, 2010).


Driver, main. The main driver allows a broad type of territorial strategy to be characterized for methodological purposes, bearing in mind the success factors identified in the zone during the identification process (Questionnaires 1 and 2). The combination of potential impacts and success factors also determines a certain product profile, represented in the online tool by a diagram illustrating the results for the four types of driver.


Endemic: refers to a plant resource that is found only in a specified geographical zone.


Farming system. A farming system is defined as a set of individual production systems that generally have basic resources, operational modes, means of household subsistence and similar constraints, and for which development strategies and similar interventions are appropriate. According to the level of analysis, a farming system can encompass dozens or millions of households.


Food health security refers to the microbiological properties of food, insofar as they cause no harm to human health.


Food security refers to a minimum amount of calories available to people in order to ensure their survival in a satisfactory state of health.


Generic (or basic) quality corresponds to the minimum quality a product must have in order to be placed on the market. It thus has a normative effect, inasmuch as governments must ensure the safety, health and information of consumers and the proper working of the market as part of their mission to protect the public good.


Generic name: a term or sign is considered “generic” when it is so widely used that consumers view it as designating a class or category of all the goods/services of the same type, rather than as referring to geographical origin.


Good agricultural practices (GAP) are practices that ensure that farming is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and produces healthy, good-quality food and non-food products.


Identification. The precise identification of a terroir product and the local resources needed for its production is the first step in the process of activating a virtuous circle of origin-linked quality. This stage depends to a large extent on the local producers’ increased awareness of the potential associated with specific local resources – which is what constitutes the basis for collective action to gain recognition for the value of a product. It depends therefore on identification of the specific quality of the product and the local resources involved, but also on the motivation of local stakeholders and the potential to devise a strategy for the optimization/preservation of the product.


Identifier. Various types of identifier can make up a GI:

  • a geographical name – alone, so that it becomes the name of the product (as with Roquefort), or in association with the common name of a product (as with Cotija cheese);
  • a name, symbol or words referring to a zone and its local inhabitants, but which is not a geographical name (e.g. Arriba cocoa);
  • associated supplementary characteristics that may also be considered geographical identifiers, such as pictures of famous places (mountains or monuments), flags, specific designs or folklore symbols;
  • the traditional form and appearance of the product, such as specific packaging or a common element on the label (see examples below).



Inventory. The inventory is the most exhaustive list of agricultural and food products from a given zone for which at least one of the stages of preparation takes place in the zone (agricultural production or manufacture). The aims of carrying out the inventory must be defined and will guide the choice of data to be assembled on these products.


Niche market: a market segment that addresses a need for a product or service not being met by mainstream suppliers. It may be seen as a narrowly defined group of potential customers and usually develops when a potential demand for a product or service is not being met by any supply, or when a new demand arises as a result of changes in society, technology or the environment. Despite the fact that niche markets are of their nature very limited in volume as compared with the mainstream market (and hence do not have the benefit of an economy of scale), they may be very profitable, thanks to the advantages of specialization and their focus on small and easily identified market segments.


Participatory approach. The participatory approach is characterized by consultation and joint decisions at all the crucial stages in collective action.


Producers are the stakeholders in the value chain involved in producing a product. In the GI approach, they include all the stakeholders in the chain who play a role in the specific origin-linked quality of a product and therefore, depending on the product: raw material producers (primary producers, herders, farmers etc.), collectors, processors, preparers and assemblers (several possible levels).


Products whose quality is linked to their origin are distinguished in several ways from comparable products. One of the main features is the link between the product and its terroir. The terroir is a delimited geographical area where a human community has over time built up a collective knowledge – intellectual or tacit – of production, based on the interaction between natural (physical and biological) and human factors. Within this system of interactions, the sociotechnical mechanisms set in motion show an originality, bestow a typicity and give rise to a reputation for a product or products coming from this terroir.


Qualification is the process by which society (consumers, citizens, government offices, other stakeholders in the value chain etc.) is in a position to recognize the value associated with a terroir product. This phase in the virtuous circle of origin-linked quality involves a precise description, enjoying unanimity among producers, of the characteristics of the zone, the production process and the quality attributes of the product.


Raw materials: the ingredients that go into the primary composition of a food, including bacteria and yeasts.


Relocalization of a geographical name consists of adding an extra geographical qualifier referring to the origin zone (for example Normandy Camembert) to the name of a product of origin-linked quality that has become generic (a name that could be geographical, for example Camembert is a soft cheese that took its name from a village in Normandy in France), inasmuch as it has become common usage or is now used in different regions.


Remuneration is the set of mechanisms by which society repays producers for the services associated with the origin-linked product. In the virtuous circle of origin-linked quality, the remuneration phase thus corresponds to setting up activities concerned with marketing and management of the sign of quality, including those linked to the system of guarantees as to the conformity of the product to its specifications.


Reproduction of the system signifies that the resources are preserved, renewed and improved throughout the cycle in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of the system in which the terroir product is located, thereby guaranteeing the very existence of the product.


Specific quality: a set of characteristics associated with a good or service that is recognized as distinct from mainstream products, in terms of either composition, production methods or marketing. These characteristics thus allow the product to be differentiated in the market on the basis of a voluntary approach and specification of the product on the part of economic actors and to the extent that the prerequisites regarding generic quality (or basic quality with regard to consumer protection and respect for the rules of the market) are assured.


Standard: a document established by consensus that provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for activities or their results, guaranteeing an optimum degree of order in a given context. Standards are set up by various types of organization to facilitate coordination among stakeholders and reduce uncertainty concerning the quality of a good or service. WTO defines a standard as a document approved by a recognized body, which provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines or characteristics for products or related processes and production methods, with which compliance is not mandatory. It may also include or deal exclusively with terminology, symbols, packaging, marking or labelling requirements as they apply to a product, a process or a production method. Standards drawn up by the international standardization community are based on consensus.


Substitute products are all those products that meet the same needs of consumers. The number of such substitute products depends on the viewpoint from which the needs relating to the product are considered. For example, for fresh unpasteurized whole milk, the need may be a nutritional one for milk, in which case all milks will be substitutes, whereas if the need is for the protein content of the milk, there are many more substitute products. The study of substitute products can give a clear picture of the amount of competition around a product.


Sustainability: a term indicating an evolution that allows the preservation, maintenance and improvement of the quality of natural resources and the maintenance of environmental balance, with a view to managing them for the future. Sustainable development was defined in the Report of the Brundtland Commission (1987) as “a development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. For OECD (2001), sustainability is a resource-oriented, long-term, global concept. It is resource-oriented because we do not know what use future generations will make of the resources and in what economic activities they will engage. It is viewed as essentially goal-oriented, indicating that resources should be used in such a way that the entire capital (including its option value) is not reduced and an unbroken stream of benefits can be obtained.


Territorial strategy. The territorial strategy
covers two aspects: the strategy (objectives and definition of resources) of the stakeholders in development in order to achieve local development (understood in the sense of economic and social development for all stakeholders in the zone on the basis of optimization of local resources); and the strategy devised for a specified administrative or political area, in this case by the competent political actors.


Terroir: a delimited geographical area in which a human community has built up a collective intellectual or tacit production know-how in the course of history, based on a system of interactions between a physical and biological environment and a set of human factors, in which the sociotechnical trajectories brought into play reveal an originality, confer typicity and engender a reputation for a product that originates in that terroir.


Traceability is defined by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) as “the ability to trace the history, application or location of that which is under consideration”. In the case of GI products, a traceability system has varying degrees of complexity (depending on the decisions taken by stakeholders and/or the normative framework) and allows clear identification of the various points in the origin and movement of the product and its raw materials all the way along the value chain until it reaches customers and consumers, including all the enterprises that have been involved in the production, processing and distribution process, to make sure that the CoP has been correctly applied and to intervene in the case of non-respect.


Tradition. The tradition surrounding a product is the body of knowledge and customs that make up the identity of the product for its historically affiliated community, its consumers and, more generally, people familiar with it.


Typicity: the typicity of an agricultural or food product is a characteristic belonging to a category of products that can be recognized by experts or connoisseurs on the basis of the specific attributes common to such products. Typicity expresses the possibility of distinguishing an origin-linked product from other similar or comparable products, and thus underlies the identity of the product. It may include a degree of variability within the category, but such variations do not compromise its identity. These properties of the category are described by a set of characteristics (technical, social, cultural) identified and defined by a human reference group, based on know-how distributed among the various stakeholders in the value chain: producers of raw materials, processors, regulators and consumers.


Unique character: a product has a unique character linked to its geographical origin if it cannot be replicated in another zone for objective reasons, whether these concern the physical characteristics of the natural environment or human factors (traditional know-how).


Value chain: a chain of activities through which a product (or a service) is produced and distributed to customers. A product goes through a series of processes and activities in the chain, at each stage gaining some value that is added to that from the previous steps.


Value creation process: a term used to indicate activation of a “virtuous circle of quality” based on recognition of the values of an origin-linked product through the identification and development of its specific attributes. Four main stages in this virtuous circle have been identified: identification of resources (raising local awareness); product qualification; product remuneration; and the reproduction and enhancement of local resources.


Virtuous circle of origin-linked quality (and the associated strategy). The virtuous circle of origin-linked quality and the associated strategy correspond to the process of promoting a product from the terroir (or a product of origin-linked quality). It allows a contribution to be made to sustainable local development through a series of steps (identification, qualification, remuneration, reproduction), which boost one another in a feedback loop.


Zone (or locality, or territory)
: the zone or locality to which the link to the terroir refers is a specific geographical area, with physical limits separating it from neighbouring zones. The nature of the boundary of the zone depends on the element that determines its identity and may thus be political, cultural, physical, historical etc.