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Virginie Amilien, Oslo Metropolitan University, Consumption Research Norway

Atle Wehn Hegnes, Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research, Department of Economics and Society

Topic: Provenance as source of origin, but which origin? Opened thoughts around Stockfish from Lofoten as a case study


The regulation and labelling scheme for PDO, PGI and TSG was set up in Norway in 2002, modelled on corresponding systems for GIs in the European Union. This paper proposes to study the dried Stockfish from Lofoten, which is not only one of the most successful provenance food constructs in Norway[1] but also the first Norwegian product to have obtained a European Protected Geographical Indication.  Stockfish from Lofoten as a case study allow to focus on market, communication and gouvernance perspectives.

The stockfish from Lofoten is produced on the Lofoten Islands, offering climatic, geographical and cultural conditions worthy of a great “terroir” product. Already in the early Middle Ages it was a central Norwegian food, and export, product. By focusing on this particular PGI product we will emphasize the role of the market’s actors in the construction of an official geographical indication. Moreover this paper will provide a reflection on the relationship between all agents participating in the visibility and acknowledgement of provenance food, including local stakeholders, producers and state regulations. Although each example of provenance food is particular, and go through its own cultural adaptation work influenced by cultural, market or institutional frames, the PGI Stockfish from Lofoten is an interesting case to open a discussion and a common reflection on provenance foods (and especially to reflect upon the concept of provenance) and their potential positive impacts on local, regional or “national food economies and on national biodiversity indicators.”

The main idea of this paper/ base for dialogue is about the meaning of provenance or origin: What is the real provenance of a fish food product?  The stockfish from Lofoten is PGI building on the fact that the product has been recognized during several centuries in several part of the worlds: Considering the cultural-historical evolution of the product, we  will highlight the governance perspective and especially the impact of institutional frames and regulations on the labelling of stockfish from Lofoten. A second point will consider the market perspective focus on the way the organization of the value chain and the stockfish from Lofoten PGI model did influence the visibility, and potential success, of the product at national and international levels.  Eventually a third point will concentrate on the communication perspective, shortly looking back at the historical evolution but mainly highlighting the way PGI and place branding are communicated to consumers, and its role in creating a “provenance” of the food.


[1]  This paper is partly based on the Strength2food project that has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 678024. This proposition of a paper is adapted from a previous version, presented at the 4th convention of the Institut Européen de l’Histoire et des Cultures de l’Alimentation, Tours, 7-8 June 2018


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