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Quality, imagery and marketing: producer perspectives on quality products and services in the lagging rural regions of the European Union

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A range of factors, including consumer concerns about food safety, the growing popularity of rural tourism and policy initiatives to promote endogenous rural development, is converging to promote a relocalization of food production and service provision, especially in those regions marginalized by the globalization of the food supply system. The recent outbreak of foot and mouth disease in the UK has starkly illustrated the fragility of localized systems which depend heavily on consumers travelling to them. Within such a context, the importance of successful marketing strategies has become even more apparent. This paper reports on a questionnaire survey which investigated promotional and marketing strategies among a diverse range of producers and service providers in marginal agricultural areas of the EU. The findings suggest that many producers are situated towards the “formal” end of a marketing continuum, whereby ability to promote quality products and services (QPS) lies with a range of intermediaries. This raises doubts about the future economic benefits of QPS, should current marketing structures persist. The discussion offers critical reflections on interdisciplinary and international research of this nature, and advocates further theoretical and methodological development in order to explore in more depth many of the aspects raised in this exploratory investigation.
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Keywords: imagery; lagging rural regions; marketing continuum; quality products; services

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Coventry University, 2: University of Vassa, Finland, 3: Department of Geography, University of Patras, Greece

Publication date: 2001-04-01

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