Sustainble Organic Market Development With International Trade

Project: Research

Project Details


Export is attractive for the organic sector, not only because of the additional growth opportunities, but also because market diversification dampens possible negative impacts of periodic slower growth in the domestic market. In some countries, export was crucial for establishing organic production in the first place (Lockeretz, 2007). In emerging markets, imports help organic products become a visible alternative for consumers much quicker, and positive experience with some organic products increase the likelihood that they buy others (Marian, Chrysochou, Krystallis, & Thøgersen, 2014). With the partial exception of meat and dairy, the Danish organic sector is still mostly oriented towards the domestic market, but export has grown significantly faster than the domestic market in recent years. Also, the importance of export as a stabilizing factor and as an independent growth opportunity is strongly emphasized in strategy documents for the Danish organic sector (Fødevareministeren, 2012; ICROFS, 2012).
It is the point of departure for this project that in order for the organic sector in a country, especially a small country, to grow and mature in a sustainable way it needs to focus on both the domestic and export markets. From the perspective of the Danish organic sector, there is a lack of knowledge to support a Danish export-oriented growth strategy, including research on (possibly differentiated) market responses to organic products imported from different countries (Thøgersen, Grunert, Esbjerg, Aschemann-Witzel, & Christensen, 2012). Denmark’s international competitiveness is challenged by high labour costs, but recent years’ strong growth in organic food exports suggests that Denmark has comparative advantages in this product category that can compensate for this.
The proposed research builds on prior research finding interacting effects of country and company reputation on brand equity (Koschate-Fischer, Diamantopoulos, & Oldenkotte, 2011; C. L. Wang, Li, Barnes, & Ahn, 2012), both of which are variable and can be influenced. However, there is a lack of research on organic food and on export from Denmark in this connection (S. A. Ahmed, d'Astous, & Petersen, 2011). On the European markets, EU’s mandatory organic label is expected to reduce the barriers to trade created by differentiated national and private organization labels (Janssen & Hamm, 2012a, 2012b), but it might also reduce the possible “country equity” of organic from Denmark.
It is the objective of this project to contribute to fill these gaps in knowledge by investigating a potentially important, but under-researched possible competitive advantage of the Danish organic sector: Denmarks country image as an organic producer (i.e., a potential country-of-origin [COO] effect).
The knowledge produced by this project is expected to strengthen Danish organic export through a more realistic understanding and better use of Danish organic’s “brand image” at export markets. In this way, the project will strengthen the growth prospects for the organic food sector in Denmark, in both the near and long term, to the benefit of the sector and the Danish society as a whole.
Effective start/end date01/01/201631/12/2017


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