Skip to main navigation menu Skip to main content Skip to site footer

Regular Articles

Vol. 23 No. 1 (2021)

Mountain beef and wine: Italian consumers’ definitions and opinions on the mountain labelling-scheme

March 29, 2021


Despite the importance of mountain areas and mountain farming, the literature on studies on consumers’ opinion concerning mountain food products is not numerous. In order to contribute to filling this gap, this study aims at exploring Italian consumers’ opinions regarding beef and wine produced in mountain areas as well as their opinions concerning the new European regulation on mountain food products. To do so, a qualitative approach with observations, focus groups and semi-structured interviews were applied. The results indicate that consumers living in mountain areas and those living in non-mountain areas, including rural areas, have different knowledge about the practices in mountain farming and different opinions concerning mountain food products. Nevertheless, both want mountain food products to be healthier and sustainably produced. Furthermore, they associate wine and beef mainly to credence attributes. As for European regulation, most criticisms are directed to the flexibility of the rules. The inclusion of wine in the mountain quality scheme is not a consensus among consumers. However, the analyses point to the existence of consumers who are interested in wines produced in mountain areas, indicating the emergence of a potential niche market for these wines.


  1. Adams, W.C. (2015). Conducting Semi-Structured Interviews. In Newcomer, K.E., Wholey, H.P. & Hatry, J.S. (Eds.), Handbook of Practical Program Evaluation (Issue August 2015, pp. 492-505). John Wiley & Sons, doi: 10.1002/9781119171386.ch19.
  2. Akerlof, G.A. (1970). The Market for “Lemons”: Quality Uncertainty and the Market Mechanism. The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 84(3), 488-500.
  3. Amilien, V., Schjøll, A. & Tebby, C. (2009). EuroMARC. Report on the consumers’perception of mountain quality food products.
  4. Arfini, F. & Bellassen, V. (2019). Sustainability of European Food Quality Schemes. In Arfini, F. & Bellassen, V. (Eds.), Sustainability of European Food Quality Schemes. Springer International Publishing, doi: 10.1007/978-3-030-27508-2.
  5. Aurier, P. & Sirieix, L. (2016). Marketing de l’agroalimentaire: environnement, strategies et plans d’action. Dunod.
  6. Banister, P., Burman, E., Parker, I., Tylor, M. & Tindall, C. (1997). Qualitative Methods in Psychology: A Research Guide (1st ed.). Open University Press.
  7. Baritaux, V., Tebby, C. & Revoredo-Giha, C. (2011). How well do food retailers know their customers? The case of mountain food products in Europe. Journal on Chain and Network Science, 11(3), 223-234, doi: 10.3920/JCNS2011.x198.
  8. Bentivoglio, D., Bucci, G. & Staffolani, G. (2020). Valorizzazione del latte “Prodotto di montagna”: un’analisi esplorativa sulle scelte di acquisto dei consumatori. Italian Review of Agricultural Economics, 75(2), 77-88, doi: 10.13128/rea-12071.
  9. Bentivoglio, D., Savini, S., Finco, A., Bucci, G. & Boselli, E. (2019). Quality and origin of mountain food products: the new European label as a strategy for sustainable development. Journal of Mountain Science, 16(2), 428-440, doi: 10.1007/s11629-018-4962-x.
  10. Bergmann, H., Enneking, U., Grotelueschen, M. & Requardt, N. (2006). Protecting biodiversity in the Harz Region by introducing new marketing policies.pdf (pp. 658-660). --
  11. Bonadonna, A. & Duglio, S. (2016). A Mountain Niche Production: The Case of Bettelmatt Cheese in the Antigorio and Formazza Valleys (Piedmont - Italy). Quality - Access to Success, 17(150), 80-86.
  12. Bonadonna, A., Peira, G. & Varese, E. (2015). The European optional quality term “mountain product”: Hypothetical application in the production chain of a traditional dairy product1. Quality - Access to Success, 16(144), 99-104.
  13. Bowen, G.A. (2008). Naturalistic inquiry and the saturation concept: a research note. Qualitative Research, 8(1), 137-152, doi: 10.1177/1468794107085301.
  14. Bryden, J. & Mantino, F. (2018). Rural Policy in Europe. In Meyers, W.H. & Johnson, T. (Eds.), Handbook of International Food and Agricultural Policies (pp. 89-119). World Scientific.
  15. Chappell, M.J., Wittman, H., Bacon, C.M., Ferguson, B.G., Barrios, L.G., Barrios, R.G., Jaffee, D., Lima, J., Méndez, V.E., Morales, H., Soto-Pinto, L., Vandermeer, J. & Perfecto, I. (2013). Food sovereignty: an alternative paradigm for poverty reduction and biodiversity conservation in Latin America. F1000Research, 2, 235, doi: 10.12688/f1000research.2-235.v1.
  16. Connelly, B.L., Certo, S.T., Ireland, R.D. & Reutzel, C.R. (2011). Signaling Theory: A Review and Assessment. Journal of Management, 37(1), 39-67, doi: 10.1177/0149206310388419.
  17. Darby, M.R. & Karni, E. (1973). Free Competition and the Optimal Amount of Fraud. The Journal of Law & Economics, 16(1), 67-88. --
  18. EC - European Commission (2019). Economic value of eu quality schemes, geographical indications and traditional specialities guaranteed. --
  19. EC - European Commission (2009). The Peak Performance. New Insights into Mountain Farming in the Europe Union. -- pdf/1B6A9097-EB30-C9CD-9ADF-70EF7D8485BD.pdf.
  20. Euromontana (2014). Guidelines for the development, promotion and communication of mountain foods. --
  21. European Parliament (2014). Family Farming in Europe: challenges and prospect. --
  22. Fandos, C. & Flavián, C. (2006). Intrinsic and extrinsic quality attributes, loyalty and buying intention: an analysis for a pdo product. British Food Journal, 108(8), 646-662, doi: 10.1108/00070700610682337.
  23. FAO - Food And Agriculture Organization (2013). Mountain Farming Is Family Farming: A contribution from mountain areas to the International Year of Family Farming 2014. --
  24. FAO - Food And Agriculture Organization (2014). The state of food and agriculture 2014: Innovation in family farming. --
  25. Federvini (n.d.). [Mountain Wine Festival banner]. --
  26. Fernández-Ferrín, P., Bande, B., Calvo-Turrientes, A. & Galán-Ladero, M.M. (2017). The Choice of Local Food Products by Young Consumers: The Importance of Public and Private Attributes. Agribusiness, 33(1), 70-84, doi: 10.1002/agr.21470.
  27. Finco, A., Bentivoglio, D. & Bucci, G. (2017). A Label for Mountain Products? Let’s Turn it over to Producers and Retailers. Quality - Access to Success, 18(2), 198-205.
  28. Fligstein, N. (2008). Markets as Politics: A Political-Cultural Approach to Market Institutions. Readings in Economic Sociology, 61(4), 197-218, doi: 10.1002/9780470755679.ch11.
  29. Giraud, G. & Petit, M. (2003). Agriculture et produits alimentaires de montagne. INRA.
  30. Graeub, B.E., Chappell, M.J., Wittman, H., Ledermann, S., Kerr, R.B. & Gemmill-Herren, B. (2016). The State of Family Farms in the World. World Development, 87, 1-15, doi: 10.1016/j.worlddev.2015.05.012.
  31. Grotelüschen, M. & Requardt, N. (2006). Tourismus, Naturschutz und Vermarktung regionaler Produkte, eine ‘Discrete Choice’ Analyse anhand des Harzer Rotviehs’. Landwirtschaft Und Umwelt, 13, 51-67.
  32. Guest, G., Bunce, A. & Johnson, L. (2006). How Many Interviews Are Enough? Field Methods, 18(1), 59-82, doi: 10.1177/1525822X05279903.
  33. Halcomb, E.J. & Andrew, S. (2005). Triangulation as a method for contemporary nursing research. Nurse Researcher, 13(2), 71-82, doi: 10.7748/nr.13.2.71.s8.
  34. Hinojosa, L., Napoléone, C., Moulery, M. & Lambin, E.F. (2016). The “mountain effect” in the abandonment of grasslands: Insights from the French Southern Alps. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 221, 115-124, doi: 10.1016/j.agee.2016.01.032.
  35. Kemp, R., Schot, J. & Hoogma, R. (1998). Regime shifts to sustainability through processes of niche formation: The approach of strategic niche management. Technology Analysis & Strategic Management, 10(2), 175-198, doi: 10.1080/09537329808524310.
  36. Kitzinger, J. (2006). Focus Groups. In Pope, C. & Mays, N. (Eds.), Qualitative Research in Health Care (pp. 21-31). Blackwell Publishing Ltd, doi: 10.1002/9780470750841.ch3.
  37. Lambert, S.D. & Loiselle, C.G. (2008). Combining individual interviews and focus groups to enhance data richness. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 62(2), 228-237, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2648.2007.04559.x.
  38. Lancaster, K.J. (1966). A New Approach to Consumer Theory. Journal of Political Economy, 74(2), 132-157. --
  39. London Economics. (2008). Evaluation of the cap policy on protected designations of origin (pdo) and protected geographical indications (pgi). --
  40. Losavio, C. & Perniciaro, G. (2017). Analisi della normativa inerente ai territori montani. --
  41. Lusk, J.L. (2013). Consumer Information and Labeling. In Armbruster, W.J. & Knutson R.D. (Eds.), US Programs Affecting Food and Agricultural Marketing (pp. 349-373). New York: Springer, doi: 10.1007/978-1-4614-4930-0_13.
  42. MacDonald, D., Crabtree, J., Wiesinger, G., Dax, T., Stamou, N., Fleury, P.,
  43. Gutierrez Lazpita, J. & Gibon, A. (2000). Agricultural abandonment in mountain areas of Europe: Environmental consequences and policy response. Journal of Environmental Management, 59(1), 47-69, doi: 10.1006/jema.1999.0335.
  44. Matscher, A. & Schermer, M. (2009). Zusatznutzen Berg? Argumente für den Konsum von Bergprodukten. Agrarwirtschaft, 58(2), 125-134.
  45. McMorran, R., Santini, F., Guri, F., Gomez-y-Paloma, S., Price, M., Beucherie, O., Monticelli, C., Rouby, A., Vitrolles, D. & Cloye, G. (2015). A mountain food label for Europe? Revue de Géographie Alpine, 103(4), 0-22, doi: 10.4000/rga.2654.
  46. Nelson, P. (1970). Information and Consumer Behavior. 78(2), 311-329. --
  47. NORDREGIO (2004). Mountain Areas in Europe: Analysis of mountain areas in EU member states, acceding and other European countries. --
  48. Northen, J.R. (2000). Quality attributes and quality cues Effective communication in the uk meat supply chain. British Food Journal, 102(3), 230-245, doi: 10.1108/00070700010324727.
  49. Olson, J.C. & Jacoby, J. (1972). Cue Utilization in the Quality Perception Process. In Venkatesan, M. (Ed.), SV - Proceedings of the Third Annual Conference of the Association for Consumer Research (pp. 167-179). Association for Consumer Research. --
  50. Pachoud, C. & Schermer, M. (2019). Reconciling Tradition and Innovation in Traditional Mountain Cheese Value Chains: The Role of Social Capital The Case of the Artisanal Serrano Cheese Value Chain in Southern Brazil. In Landsteiner, E. & Soens, T. (Eds.), Rural History Year Book: farming the city (pp. 200-228). Institute of Rural History.
  51. Pomarici, E. & Sardone, R. (2020). eu wine policy in the framework of the CAP: post-2020 challenges. Agricultural and Food Economics, 8(1), 17, doi: 10.1186/s40100-020-00159-z.
  52. Pope, C. & Mays, N. (2006). Observational Methods. In Pope, C. & Mays, N. (Eds.), Qualitative Research in Health Care (pp. 32-42). Blackwell Publishing Ltd, doi: 10.1002/9780470750841.ch4.
  53. Resano, H. & Sanjuán, A. I. (2018). Exploring the Role of Mountain Origin and Autochthonous Breed on Urban Consumers’ Acceptability. Sustainability, 10(12), 4423, doi: 10.3390/su10124423.
  54. Reuillon, J. L., Derville, M., Crouzet, M., Forray, L. & Perrot, C. (n.d.). La filière française de laits et de fromages de montagne.
  55. Samos Wines (n.d.). Psiles Korfes (High Peaks). --
  56. Sanjuán, A.I. & Khliji, S. (2016). Urban consumers’ response to the EU food mountain labelling: An empirical application in Southern Europe. New Medit, 15(1), 72-80.
  57. Santini, F., Guri, F. & Gomez, S. (2013). Labelling of agricultural and food products of mountain farming: Executive Summary. In European Commision, doi: 10.2791/679.
  58. Santos, A. dos. (2017). Labelling Mountain Food Products in Europe [Wageningen University]. --
  59. Schäufele, I. & Hamm, U. (2017). Consumers’ perceptions, preferences and willingness-to-pay for wine with sustainability characteristics: A review. Journal of Cleaner Production, 147, 379-394, doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2017.01.118.
  60. Schjøll, A., Amilien, V., Arne, P., Revoredo, C. & Leat, P. (2010). Promotion of mountain food: An explorative a study about consumers’ and retailers’ perception in six European countries. Methodology, July, 1558-1567. --
  61. Sidali, K.L. & Scaramuzzi, S. (2014). Group heterogeneity and cooperation in the governance of geographical indications. the case of parmigiano reggiano mountain product. Politica Agricola Internazionale, 1, 21-31. --
  62. Souza, M.C.M. de. (2006). Cafés sustentáveis e denominação de origem: a certificação de qualidade na diferenciação de cafés orgânicos, sombreados e solidários [Universidade de São Paulo], doi: 10.11606/T.90.2006.tde-22112011-161753.
  63. Steenkamp, J.-B.E.M. (1990). Conceptual model of the quality perception process. Journal of Business Research, 21(4), 309-333, doi: 10.1016/0148-2963(90)90019-A.
  64. Strauss, A. & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of Qualitative Research (2nd ed.). sage Publications Ltd.
  65. Strub, L. & M, L.S. (2017). Is there a future for steep slope wine growing? Combining producer and consumer perspectives towards economically sustainable concepts: Proceedings of the 5th International Congress on Mountain and Steep Slope Viciculture. 5th International Congress on Mountain and Steep Slope Viciculture. --
  66. Teisl, M.F. & Roe, B. (1998). The Economics of Labeling: An Overview of Issues for Health and Environmental Disclosure. Agricultural and Resource Economics Review, 27(02), 140-150, doi: 10.1017/S1068280500006468.
  67. Teng, C.-C. & Wang, Y.-M. (2015). Decisional factors driving organic food consumption. British Food Journal, 117(3), 1066-1081, doi: 10.1108/BFJ-12-2013-0361.
  68. Terres, J.-M., Scacchiafichi, L.N., Wania, A., Ambar, M., Anguiano, E., Buckwell, A., Coppola, A., Gocht, A., Källström, H.N., Pointereau, P., Strijker, D., Visek, L., Vranken, L. & Zobena, A. (2015). Farmland abandonment in Europe: Identification of drivers and indicators, and development of a composite indicator of risk. Land Use Policy, 49, 20-34, doi: 10.1016/j.landusepol.2015.06.009.
  69. Thomas, D.R. (2006). A General Inductive Approach for Analyzing Qualitative Evaluation Data. American Journal of Evaluation, 27(2), 237-246, doi: 10.1177/1098214005283748.
  70. Thomson, M., MacInnis, D.J. & Whan Park, C. (2005). The Ties That Bind: Measuring the Strength of Consumers’ Emotional Attachments to Brands. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 15(1), 77-91, doi: 10.1207/s15327663jcp1501_10.
  71. Tregear, A., Arfini, F., Belletti, G. & Marescotti, A. (2007). Regional foods and rural development: The role of product qualification. Journal of Rural Studies, 23(1), 12-22, doi: 10.1016/j.jrurstud.2006.09.010.
  72. Trentino Marketing (n.d.). No Title[Image of a glass with sparkling wine]. --
  73. van Ittersum, K., Candel, M.J.J.M. & Meulenberg, M.T.G. (2003). The influence of the image of a product’s region of origin on product evaluation. Journal of Business Research, 56(3), 215-226, doi: 10.1016/S0148-2963(01)00223-5.
  74. Volle, P. (1995). Le concept de risque perçu en psychologie du consommateur: Antécédents et statut théorique. Recherche et Applications En Marketing (French Edition), 10(1), 39-56, doi: 10.1177/076737019501000103.
  75. Zanoli, R., Naspetti, S., Janssen, M. & Hamm, U. (2015). Mediation and moderation in food-choice models: a study on the effects of consumer trust in logo on choice. njas - Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences, 72-73, 41-48, doi: 10.1016/j.njas.2015.01.001.
  76. Zisenis, M., Dominique, R., Price, M., Torre-Marin, A., Jones-Walters, L., Halada, L., Gajdos, P., Oszlanyi, J. & Carver, S. (2010). 10 messages for 2010 Mountain ecosystems. --
  77. Zuliani, A., Esbjerg, L., Grunert, K. & Bovolenta, S. (2018). Animal Welfare and Mountain Products from Traditional Dairy Farms: How Do Consumers Perceive Complexity?. Animals, 8(11), 207, doi: 10.3390/ani8110207.
  78. Legal References Commission Delegated Regulation (eu) No 665/2014 of 11 March 2014 supplementing Regulation (eu) No 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council with regard to conditions of use of the optional quality term ‘mountain product’. --
  79. Decreto 2 agosto 2018, Istituzione del logo identificativo per l’indicazione facoltativa di qualità “prodotto di montagna” in attuazione del decreto ministeriale n. 57167 del 26 luglio 2017. --
  80. Decreto 20 luglio 2018, Linee guida sulla verifica di quanto disposto dall’articolo 2, comma 3, del decreto 26 luglio 2017, concernente disposizioni nazionali per l’attuazione del regolamento (UE) n. 1151/2012 e del regolamento delegato (UE) n. 665/2014. --
  81. Decreto 26 luglio 2017, Disposizioni nazionali per l’attuazione del regolamento (UE) n. 1151/2012 e del regolamento delegato (UE) n. 665/2014 sulle condizioni di utilizzo dell’indicazione facoltativa di qualità “prodotto di montagna” (17A06331). --
  82. Decreto 6899 del 30/06/2020, Legge 12 dicembre 2016, n. 238, articolo 7 comma 3, concernente la salvaguardia dei vigneti eroici e storici. --
  83. Disposizioni nazionali per l’attuazione del regolamento (UE) n. 1151/2012 e del regolamento delegato (UE) n. 665/2014 sulle condizioni di utilizzo dell’indicazione facoltativa di qualità “prodotto di montagna” (17A06331). --
  84. Legge 12 dicembre 2016, n. 238, Disciplina organica della coltivazione della vite e della produzione e del commercio del vino. --
  85. Legge 25 luglio 1952, n. 991, Provvedimenti in favore dei territori montani. --
  86. Ordonnance sur le cadastre de la production agricole et la délimitation de zones. --
  87. Regulation (EU) n. 1151/2012 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 November 2012 on quality schemes for agricultural products and foodstuffs. --
  88. Regulation (EU) n. 1305/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 on support for rural development by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (eafrd). --
  89. Regulation (EU) n. 1308/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 December 2013 establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural products. --


Metrics Loading ...