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Distance isn’t dead : An empirical evaluation of food miles-based preference changes

  • John Ballingall

    (New Zealand Institute of Economic Research)

  • Niven Winchester
Registered author(s):

    Food miles measure the distance food travels to reach consumers plates. Although substituting local food for imported produce will not necessarily reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the food miles movement is an intuitively appealing idea to consumers and supported by import-competing producers. We investigate the economic implications of food miles-induced preference changes in Europe using a global, economy-wide model. We observe large welfare losses for New Zealand and several Sub-Saharan African nations. This suggests that food miles campaigns will increase global inequality without necessarily improving environmental outcomes. We then consider the implications of our results for New Zealand businesses and government agencies. We conclude that there is an ongoing requirement for careful monitoring of offshore consumer trends and that New Zealand firms need to demonstrate their sustainability credentials to avoid suffering negative demand shocks.

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    File URL: http://130.56.61.71/node/22999
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    Paper provided by East Asian Bureau of Economic Research in its series Trade Working Papers with number 22999.

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    Date of creation: Jan 2009
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    Handle: RePEc:eab:tradew:22999
    Contact details of provider: Postal: JG Crawford Building #13, Asia Pacific School of Economics and Government, Australian National University, ACT 0200
    Web page: http://www.eaber.org

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    1. Klaus Conrad, 2005. "Price Competition and Product Differentiation When Consumers Care for the Environment," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 31(1), pages 1-19, 05.
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