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Global Food Trade and Consumer Preferences

How consumer demand for quality food products influences global food trade was the subject of a workshop, June 26-27, 2000, in Montreal. The workshop was sponsored by Farm Foundation and USDA’s Economic Research Service, and organized by IATRC and regional research committee NE-165. More than 100 trade economists examined ways that consumer demand for quality attributes in food is changing trade patterns and shaping food production around the world.

The workshop was organized around three case studies:

• Implications of rising consumer concerns about animal welfare, particularly in the European Union, for production and trade in poultry products.

• Lessons for food safety based on how the Guatemalan raspberry industry responded to outbreaks of Cyclosporiasis in North America.

• How the Uruguay beef industry has marketed their traditional pasture-raised product to the European Union as hormone-free beef.

These case studies showed how industries can take advantage of tradition, chance, government regulatory plans, comparative advantage and serendipity to respond to consumer preferences.

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