All Food is Not Created Equal: Policy for Agricultural Product Differentiation

All Food is Not Created Equal: Policy for Agricultural Product Differentiation
Nov. 14-16, 2004 Berkeley, Calif.
Sponsored by Farm Foundation, Giannini Foundation and USDA’s Economic Research Service

The number of new food products available in the U.S. market annually has exploded in recent years. One reason is product differentiation, rather than proliferation of distinctly new products. Accompanying this phenomenon are more requests from the food and agricultural sector for government actions to support product differentiation.

At this conference, industry leaders, academics and government agency staffers examined the potential oversight role of government relative to various types of differentiated products, and implications of alternative public or private regulatory approaches. Research opportunities were also identified.

The conference was sponsored by Farm Foundation in collaboration with the Giannini Foundation and USDA’s Economic Research Service.

Keynote Address: Paradox of Choice
Barry Schwartz, Swarthmore College
Setting the Stage
Why Product Differentiation is on the Food and Agricultural Policy Agenda
Susan Offutt, ERSHistorical Perspective on USDA Involvement in Food and Agricultural Product Markets
Bruce Gardner, University of MarylandEvolution of Food and Agricultural Market Structure and the Rise of Product Differentiation
Ian Sheldon, Ohio State University
Welfare Implications of Product Differentiation
Are Consumers Better Off?
Joel Waldfogel, The Wharton School
Rent Seeking Behavior by Differentiating Firms
Jeff Perloff, University of California-Berkeley
Luncheon speaker:  Thomas Nassif, Western Growers Association
Differentiation Issues in Food and Agricultural Markets

Food Safety – Ginger Jin, University of Maryland
Geographic Indicators – Danny Pick, ERS
Functional Foods – Laurian Unnevehr, University of Illinois
Farmer-Branded Products – Dermot Hayes, Iowa State University

Policy in Action: Why and How Some USDA Agencies Interact With Differentiating Food and Agricultural Markets

USDA Agricultural Marketing Service Certification
Ken Clayton, Agricultural Marketing Service, USDAUSDA Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Laboratory Testing Service
David Shipman, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, USDA

Industry Perspectives
Cornelius Gallagher, Bank of America
Robbin Johnson, Cargill
Bill Lapp, ConAgra
Market Failure and Government Intervention

Third Party vs. Government Certification
Peter Schmeidler and Howard Kunreuther, The Wharton SchoolAdvertising vs. Government Labeling
Pauline Ipppolito, Federal Trade Commission


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