The main purpose of this paper is to contribute to a better understanding of alternative processes of restructuring in the agri‐food chain, emphasising the socio‐cultural aspects.
A conceptual discussion as to how qualities are embedded in speciality products to make them different from conventional products leads to the presentation of a model of modes of designed qualities. This model is applied to an empirical study of the milk supply chains and the related infrastructure in Norway and Wales.
The research argues that qualities of food are constructed in relations between participants along the supply chain, consumers included. Development of speciality food needs new networks to create other modes of quality than the standard.
The concepts are contributions to analytical generalisations and not to statistical generalisations, i.e. they must be applied to cases. This study is related to the milk sector in two contexts. There is a need to explore other empirical cases.
This paper uses new conceptual tools to analyse how food qualities are constructed in relations between food producers, processors and consumers. It contributes to the debate on the alternative food economy, especially with relation to aspects of quality.
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