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Environmentally sustainable food production and marketing: Opportunity or hype?

Suku Bhaskaran (Food Marketing Research Unit, Victoria University (Werribee Campus), Melbourne, Australia)
Michael Polonsky (Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
John Cary (Institute of Innovation and Sustainability, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)
Shadwell Fernandez (Project Officer at the Food Marketing Research Unit, Victoria University, Melbourne, Australia)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 1 August 2006




To identify and analyse the beliefs of value‐chain intermediaries regarding the production and marketing of food products conforming to environmentally sustainable standards.


The methodology was in‐depth, semi‐structured, face‐to‐face interviews with senior managers of food companies across the value chain.


In Australia, the demand for foods that are produced under environmentally sustainable standards has been slow to take‐off because customers do not perceive these products as offering any special benefits; customers distrust the claims made by organisations; these products are much more expensive than traditional products, and the implementation of environmental standards is expensive. Customers claim that the use of different terminologies such as organic, green and environmentally friendly in promoting food products is confusing.

Research limitations/implications

Findings are not generalisable because the study is based on a small sample.

Practical implications

Value‐chain intermediaries are unlikely to voluntarily adopt environmental standards because of low demand for such foods and the high costs of adopting and monitoring environmentally sustainable production and marketing regimes.


The story supports previous research findings from the USA and EU.



Bhaskaran, S., Polonsky, M., Cary, J. and Fernandez, S. (2006), "Environmentally sustainable food production and marketing: Opportunity or hype?", British Food Journal, Vol. 108 No. 8, pp. 677-690.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2006, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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