Eco-values as product quality attributes in manufacturing of agricultural food Ingredients

The Norwegian food producers and industry is of great importance to the national economy in terms of production volume, value creation and employment. The food industry faces major challenges in the years to come e.g. WTO negotiations, the high level of costs compared to the competitors, and changes in quality, contents, health aspects, ethical dimensions, and energy efficiency.

One factor that will impact future demand for Norwegian food is changing goals, values and preferences amongst emerging groups of consumers. Worldwide, a growing demand for "green", "healthy" and "ethically produced" (i.e. eco-branded) food products is evident. To accommodate to these market changes, competition in international food markets is lately swayed such that both local and global food brand builders try to differentiate their products by including "green", "ethical" and "healthy" food ingredients.

There are a number of ethical and political challenges involved in these shifts. In our part of this project, we provide ethical analyses of such a development. In an increasingly integrated global economy, issues of food safety, production and transportation costs, control of land and global justice become sources of conflict. Environmental concerns, health issues, matters of justice in access and control, and the cultural significance of farming, are all pertinent areas of discussion.

Central research questions include:

  • How does an increase in local eco-friendly food production affect our duties regarding global justice and sustainable food production?
  • To what extent should the value of national and cultural traditions connected to local and regional farming be of significance in food policy?
  • Should we turn towards increased local production in order to improve the conditions for trustworthy food production?

Research group:

Bjørn Myskja, Lars Ursin