Swedish study published about costs and benefits of origin labelling

The Swedish AgriFood Economics Centre recently conducted a study entitled “Origin labelling of food - costs and benefits of new EU legislation for Sweden”. The report provides new insights into the effects of extending mandatory origin labelling within the EU, from a Swedish perspective. The overall conclusion is that voluntary origin labelling is sufficient for the investigated products, and that there is no need for compulsory regulation.

In short, the study concludes that:

  • The market seems to adjust well to consumer demand for origin information on the products included in this study. For those products for which consumers´ willingness-to-pay for origin labelling is high, there is in general already a high degree of voluntary origin labelling in place. Similarly, the degree of voluntary origin labelling is low for products for which consumer demand for information on origin is low. 
  • Legislation on mandatory labelling will not result in any improvements for either consumers or producers. Consumers may be negatively affected through higher food prices. In addition, the competitiveness of both the Swedish food industry and Swedish agriculture may be harmed, as they will face higher costs but may be unable to increase their prices to cover these costs. 
  • The costs and benefits of mandatory origin labelling differ substantially across products. This implies, according to the authors, that legislation on mandatory origin labelling should be adjusted to each individual product rather than equally designed for all products. It also means that an extension of mandatory origin labelling cannot be motivated with the argument that it already exists and is appreciated by consumers for other products. Rather, costs and benefits must be assessed individually for each product for which mandatory origin labelling is under consideration. 
  • Mandatory origin labelling is not likely to be an appropriate instrument for handling other problems, such as ensuring food safety or preventing fraud in the food supply chain. To remedy these problems, other measures are more appropriate. 

To download the study, click here.

 

Laatst gewijzigd: 8 mei 2014