REGIONAL PRODUCT LABELLING AS PART OF THE REGION FORMATION PROCESS. THE CASE OF CZECHIA
Regional product labelling can be described as a part of ‘alternative food networks’ since both of them share the idea of ‘re-connecting’ spatially and socially separated production and consumption. This article situates the issue of regional products in the broader context of region formation. It aims to the factors essential for the implementation of a labelling scheme in a given region in order to cast light on the relationship between regional labelling and the process of a region’s institutionalisation. By analysing a set of 22 labelling schemes of the Association of Regional Brands we seek to find answers to the following questions: Which regions have been introducing regional labelling schemes and what do they have in common from the geographic point of view?; What is the place of a regional product label in the process of the region’s institutionalisation? Data on individual regions obtained through an analysis of electronic and printed sources was confronted with specialised literature and thematic maps. We studied spatial characteristics as well as features determining a region’s place in the process of institutionalisation. The most striking common features of regions, which are decisive factors in the implementation of a labelling scheme, include the rural character and a certain degree of problem occurrence the motivate regional stakeholders to overcome those difficulties, but do not impede further development. Another important factor is an attractive natural landscape. Labelling schemes become involved in the institutionalisation process both at its early and later stages, having part in building the identity of a region.