Set within the context of recent rural restructuring in developed market economies, the authors examine the potential of niche markets for speciality food products (SFPs) to contribute towards rural development in peripheral (lagging) regions. Drawing on elements of regulation theory, actor-network approaches, and consumption studies, niche markets for SFPs are conceptualised as the outcomes of the intersecting activities of networks of producers, consumers, and institutions. On the basis of this conceptualisation and preliminary empirical evidence from a European research project, it is suggested that unique configurations of networks at local and regional levels, and their relationships to extralocal networks, will contribute to the success or failure of regional SFPs in promoting endogenous development. It is also argued that a focus on particular products, markets, and regions is required to gain a holistic understanding of the complex and contested network relationships through which niche markets for SFPs are constructed.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Environmental Science (miscellaneous)