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Managing and Marketing Agricultural and Food Quality Attributes


Research will include studies of firm, government, and consumer issues:
<OL> <LI> Surveys and case studies of industry-level, and individual, agribusiness compliance costs for food quality, and particularly food safety, regulations will be conducted.<LI> Tracking the voluntarily adoption of quality management systems and related investments in physical or human capital selected by firms, will be achieved through various methods including reviews of system capabilities, interviews with industry associations, surveys and reviews of secondary data. Particular attention will be paid to the instigators of these systems. <LI>The evolving nature of corporate and supply chain structures to better communicate and coordinate quality goals will be evaluated. This will include analysis of various identity preservation systems and their necessary vertical cooperation mechanisms. <LI> The influence of quality management and marketing practices on industry structure at the production, processing, and retail stages will be assessed. <LI> The use of information technology, in particular E-Business, strategies to communicate and coordinate quality attributes between firms (B2B) and between firms and consumers (B2C) is to be assessed through a series of web page evaluations and business surveys. <LI> The analysis of ex ante and ex post net benefits, and the distribution of costs and benefits, of current and proposed public sector efforts to enhance food quality will require case studies, surveys, and secondary data analysis. <LI> The role of government in food safety recalls, inspections, and certification will predominantly require conceptual and theoretical assessments of new policies. <LI>The comparison of federal versus state-level control of food safety, and use of different mandatory controls will similarly require a mix of conceptual and applied research methodologies. <LI>Assessments of the food safety provisions of international agreements, trade policy instruments, harmonization programs, and other management tools targeting or influencing the quality of agricultural and food products exchanged by trading partners will be continued. These studies will combine trade dispute and international trade flow data to assess the role of economics in selecting, and resolving, such quality-based conflicts. <LI> The international comparison of various food safety and food standard setting regulatory structures with regard to their impacts on trade, public health, food sector performance, and other concerns requires the use of secondary data on foodborne illness, recalls, international trade detentions, and regulatory regimes within models of policy efficiency. <LI> Consumer surveys will be developed to determine key concerns over food quality attributes and potential target markets for enhanced products. <LI> Tracking the adoption of food safety risk mitigation strategies by consumers will require interdisciplinary research tools leading to focus groups, surveys, etc. <LI>International comparisons of consumer concerns and reactions to various food quality management and marketing tools (e.g., labeling) can be achieved through collaborative applications of survey instruments wherever possible.

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NON-TECHNICAL SUMMARY: This project will advance our understanding of the most appropriate manner of managing and marketing agricultural and food quality attributes. Control of these attributes occurs at all stages of agricultural and food supply chains. Public welfare will be served through a better appreciation of the most appropriate level of food quality, particularly food safety, to be made available to consumers though the analysis of the costs, benefits, market performance, and international trade effects of various quality management and marketing systems.


APPROACH: Dr. Hooker will apply various innovative economics, marketing, and managerial models to assess food safety quality differentiation, international policy and trade. These key developments in the research of the economics of agricultural and food quality attributes require a mix of primary and secondary data, and theoretical disciplinary and interdisciplinary studies. Where primary data is lacking novel techniques to proxy food safety impacts, in particular, will be applied (e.g., the continuing assessment of recalls). Dr. Hooker's extension work also lies within this Hatch topic, including various projects to communicate the threats and opportunities contained within the economics of quality to agribusinesses and other stakeholders. In addition, work with researchers in animal and food science and other units/departments within the interdisciplinary OSU Food Safety Center will permit Dr. Hooker to advance related collaborative research and extension programs. Applied research, education and extension activities in the area of E-Business and Information Technology use by agribusiness (termed E-Agribusiness) will also be developed around the Hatch topic.


PROGRESS: 2001/08 TO 2006/09<BR>
Work in 2006 to conclude this project considered marketing and management impacts on agricultural and food quality. Food safety, functional food, organic and E-Business journal article and technical reports are reported. Two articles and several abstracts related to this work have been accepted/published in 2007. On-going research continues to explore the role of food quality attributes in marketing and managerial decision making.
IMPACT: 2001/08 TO 2006/09<BR>
Innovative quantitative measures of the benefits and costs of food quality management practices are provided in a timely application of the fresh-cut (e.g., bagged salad) industry. Assessments of the nascent E-Grocery market channel highlight the process of quality management and marketing along with IT adoption by consumers and businesses and aid in the regional market selection process. The evolving market response to (qualified) health claims on functional foods and organic marketing regulations are evaluated. Firm adoption of risk management strategies is being evaluated with the goal of enhancing the use of science-based interventions with public benefits.

Hooker, Neal
Ohio State University
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