The mapping of selected territorial brands in the Alpine countries took place in the framework of the activities of the Eusalp Action Group 6. This activity was financed by the AlpGov2 project and was carried out by the AG6 members: the Institute for Regional Development of Eurac Research (Ms. Elisa Agosti, Ms. Alessia Mambrin and Mr. Matteo Rizzari) was in charge of the overall coordination, the data search and the creation of the map. The Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, SUACI Montagne´Alpes were also contributing to it. Special acknowledgments go to Mr. Diego Rinallo, to Mr. Erik Logar, and to Ms. Justine Vianes Ramousse.
The AG6 aimed at investigating the potential of territorial brands as an instrument for local development in Alpine rural areas. The research was conducted according to the following criteria:
- The territorial brands should cover a range of products, and not a single category;
- The brands should be managed by an umbrella organization ensuring a collective dynamic and supporting strategies for regional development; individual brands have been excluded, as they do not fulfill a coordination role, but are often established to sell a single product;
- The brands should cover sub-national geographical areas on a municipal, local or regional level;
- Single products (e.g., Protected Designation of Origin, Protected Geographical Indication) and single typologies of products (e.g., cheese, wine) were excluded from the research.
It is important to underline that this mapping is not intended to be exhaustive. It should be considered a first attempt to show the variety and the potential of territorial brands as an opportunity for the sustainable commercial valorisation of agri-food Intangible Cultural Heritage within the EU Strategy for the Alpine Macro-Region (EUSALP). The brands selected and described have been collected via a desk research and thanks to several exchanges with experts in the field of territorial brands.
It was possible to collect and list brands from all Alpine countries apart from Liechtenstein, where no brand has been developed until now. However, we would like to highlight the fact that some initiatives aiming at promoting regional products have been launched in Liechtenstein in the past years. One of them is called “Lokal und fair” and provides a label to local businesses and restaurants that use at least three Fair Trade products and one product from the Principality of Liechtenstein. Another initiative is supported by “Feldfreunde”, a local association that promotes a food system, which is respectful of the natural resources. Finally, the brand "O-Supermarkt" was created by a Liechtenstein entrepreneur that, together with his team, has been promoting high-quality regional products for years. The assortment of this brand is constantly expanded with fine and innovative products and distributed in 5 supermarkets of this chain in Liechtenstein and in the region.
The research showed that the administrative, socioeconomic and cultural specificities of each country play an important role in the way Alpine countries developed their brands.
- In the French Alps, for example, the social aspect is one of the main reasons to create a brand. Farmers and other employees in the agricultural sector use the opportunity to have a brand to ensure a fair remuneration and to obtain a higher price for their products.
- In Switzerland the “Association of Swiss Regional Products” developed specific guidelines to certify regional products based on their origin and quality and labelled them with the “regio.garantie” label.
- In the Italian Alps, many brands are linked to cultural specificities of language minorities.
- Austrian brands on the contrary, are quite different: They are mostly managed at regional level and are promoted by centralized agencies that also take care of tourism promotion.
- In the German Alps there seems to be a good mix of brands promoting an entire region and smaller brands that belong to the local level.
- In the Slovenian Alps, the primary aim of territorial brands is to stimulate local economic development and added value in rural areas, usually on the level of municipalities or in cooperation with local action groups