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

Diego Rinallo (Department of Marketing, Kedge Business School, Marseille, France)
Valentina Pitardi (Department of Marketing and Sales, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, UK)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Publication date: 24 July 2019



The purpose of this paper is to investigate how open, mediatised conflict in geographical indications (GIs) can provide the basis for differentiation strategies for heritage producers based on both functional and symbolic benefits.


Longitudinal case study based on multiple data sources, which reconstructs the history of the Bitto GIs and the conflict between the Protected Designation of Origin Bitto Consortium and a small number of heritage Bitto producers.


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 GIs. It also contributes to a better understanding of the image of products protected by GIs 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 GIs.


The authors introduce the notions, such as competitive wars and secession, that contribute to a better understanding of centripetal/centrifugal forces inside GIs. The authors also propose a better understanding of image creation of GIs, grounded in cultural work in marketing and consumer research.



Rinallo, D. and Pitardi, V. (2019), "Open conflict as differentiation strategy in geographical indications: the Bitto Rebels case", British Food Journal, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print.

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