Transforming a conflict into a market creation for Dutch chicken meat

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In the late 1990s, animal scientists from Wageningen University started to develop the very idea of an ‘intermediary’ chicken meat product that has more welfare quality than broilers in mainstream production systems but less than broilers in organic production systems. This was recognised as a market opportunity by seemingly opposing groups of actors in the Dutch chicken meat supply chain: industry, NGO’s and retail. Their shared mission was to develop an intermediary chicken meat product that included animal welfare attributes and in turn, was affordable for consumers. However, in the process of collaboration, consensus was rarely reached, and fragile when as it was. At the same time, cooperation and communication continued, often un-problematically. How was this possible? In this paper, we present a case study and focus on different groups of actors transforming a societal conflict on animal welfare into collaboration and market creation. We use the concept of boundary object as the approach to explain both the process and the product. The case study on the transition of a societal conflict into market creation for Dutch chicken meat brings up at least two issues that require attention in the process of collaboration and market creation. These issues pertain to negotiating the shared meaning of an intermediary product, and the organisation of interactions between groups of actors that maintain their differences in the process. The boundary crossing feature of an intermediary product that positions itself on both animal welfare and price, makes it multi-interpretable, and therefore, acceptable to otherwise possibly conflicting interpretations. The notion of an intermediary product made this struggle explicit. The bridging and conflicting concerns at the boundary of the different groups of actors offered a new horizon on the transition towards sustainable practices, in our case in the broiler sector. The organisation of interactions that led to continuity and consistency in the process of collaboration and market creation for Dutch chicken meat are summarized in three lessons learned.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationKnow Your Food
Subtitle of host publicationFood ethics and innovation
EditorsD.E. Dumitras, I.M. Jitea, S. Aerts
PublisherWageningen Academic Publishers
ISBN (Electronic)9789086868131
ISBN (Print)9789086862641
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2015
EventEurSafe 2015 - Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Duration: 28 May 201530 May 2015


ConferenceEurSafe 2015

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