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Barriers and Drivers of Innovation in Traditional Food Networks


  • Kuhne, Bianka
  • Gellynck, Xavier
  • Vermeire, Bert
  • Molnar, Adrienn


In the European Union the awareness to retain cultural heritage within the different European regions is rising. An important element of the cultural heritage is the production of traditional food products. Few published studies are related to traditional food products and even less to innovation in this specific food sector. Taking into consideration the increasing demand for traditional food products and the importance of innovation to gain competitive advantage, there is a great need to carry out research in this field. In the frame of this research a traditional food network is understood as the network of traditional food firms, research centers and stakeholders of this sector. A traditional food firm (TFF) is comprehended as a manufacturer of traditional food products, with special attention to small and medium sized TFFs. Hereby, a new definition of traditional food products has been developed. This definition states that the key production steps of a traditional food product must be performed in a certain area, which can be national, regional or local. The traditional food product must have an authentic recipe (mix of ingredients), and/or an authentic origin of raw material, and/or an authentic production process. Furthermore, it must be commercially available for the public in stores or restaurants for at least 50 years and it must be part of the gastronomic heritage, which can be described in a one-page story (Gellynck et al., 2006a). In the literature, it is emphasized that a network, rather than a single firm determines the potential for innovation (Pittaway et al., 2004; Powell et al., 1996). Innovation involves changes in an organization (Damanpour, 1991). On the one hand, it is a response to changes of the firm's internal or external environment and a preventive step to anticipate changes in the firm's environment on the other. The implementation of organizational innovation contributes to the performance and effectiveness of TFFs and their networks (Damanpour, 1991; Gellynck et al., 2006c). Therefore, innovation is regarded as an important strategic tool to obtain competitive advantage (Avermaete et al., 2004a; Gellynck et al., 2006b). However, not all TFFs develop and implement organizational innovation through their network. Therefore, the aim of the present paper is to construct a conceptual framework for the investigation of barriers and drivers of organizational innovation developed by TFFs in traditional food networks.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuhne, Bianka & Gellynck, Xavier & Vermeire, Bert & Molnar, Adrienn, 2007. "Barriers and Drivers of Innovation in Traditional Food Networks," 2007 1st Forum, February 15-17, 2007, Innsbruck, Austria 6617, International European Forum on Innovation and System Dynamics in Food Networks.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:iefi07:6617

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marian Murphy, 2002. "Organisational Change and Firm Performance," OECD Science, Technology and Industry Working Papers 2002/14, OECD Publishing.
    2. Cassiman, Bruno & Veugelers, Reinhilde, 2002. "Complementarity in the innovation strategy: Internal R&D, external technology acquisition, and cooperation in R&D," IESE Research Papers D/457, IESE Business School.
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