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Public multi-criteria assessment for societal concerns and gradual labelling


  • Michalopoulos, T.
  • Hogeveen, H.
  • Heuvelink, E.
  • Oude Lansink, A.G.J.M.


We present a multicriteria product assessment framework that can be used to rank existing products against hypothetical product scenarios. Products are ranked for Environmental Impact, Healthfulness, Naturalness and Fairness. Assessment criteria and relative importance weights are sourced from the public. The framework has been demonstrated for fresh tomato production scenarios. Results are valid because they correspond to public concerns, gradient to reward small production improvements, and relative to available product alternatives. Their interpretation can be normative with reference to existing production averages: without agreement on absolute acceptability thresholds. Data improvement agrees with rational stakeholder behaviour. Results identify technological applications of higher and lower public acceptability potential, for production and research agenda optimisation. Other producer uses include labelling and brand name protection. Civil society uses include the critical assessment of production. Public uses include labelling in consumer-driven markets, and smooth production sector re-structuring by incentivizing a race-to-the-top for production externalities of public concern, like the environmental sustainability or the fairness of production.

Suggested Citation

  • Michalopoulos, T. & Hogeveen, H. & Heuvelink, E. & Oude Lansink, A.G.J.M., 2013. "Public multi-criteria assessment for societal concerns and gradual labelling," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 97-108.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:40:y:2013:i:c:p:97-108
    DOI: 10.1016/j.foodpol.2012.12.010

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. Diaz-Balteiro, Luis & Romero, Carlos, 2004. "In search of a natural systems sustainability index," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 49(3), pages 401-405, July.
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    5. Balcombe, Kelvin & Fraser, Iain & Falco, Salvatore Di, 2010. "Traffic lights and food choice: A choice experiment examining the relationship between nutritional food labels and price," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(3), pages 211-220, June.
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    7. Tamiz, Mehrdad & Jones, Dylan & Romero, Carlos, 1998. "Goal programming for decision making: An overview of the current state-of-the-art," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 111(3), pages 569-581, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Pashaei Kamali, Farahnaz & Borges, João A.R. & Meuwissen, Miranda P.M. & de Boer, Imke J.M. & Oude Lansink, Alfons G.J.M., 2017. "Sustainability assessment of agricultural systems: The validity of expert opinion and robustness of a multi-criteria analysis," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 157(C), pages 118-128.
    2. Diaz-Balteiro, L & González-Pachón, J. & Romero, C., 2017. "Measuring systems sustainability with multi-criteria methods: A critical review," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 258(2), pages 607-616.


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