Agroscope, Institute for Sustainability Sciences ISS, Switzerland

Grades or labels? Beef prices and quality

The difference between quality grades and quality labels is that the latter are awarded on the basis of production processes, whilst the former are conferred on the strength of the actual production results. In the course of a de-ideologisation of society, it might be assumed that the price differences between quality grades would grow larger and larger, while those between quality labels would tend to shrink. Regressions for the calf market on the one hand and for 4180 cattle-market datasets on the other largely confirm this pattern between 2000 and 2014. In the period under consideration, a price spread occurs between the individual grades of the CH-TAX system, whilst the surcharge for organic products shrinks. No price discrimination is identified a priori for ‘Terrasuisse’ and ‘QM’ labels.

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