15 November 2023 News

Habli, K.; Dumitras, D.E.; Schmitt, E.; Maglietti Smith, I.; Barjolle, D. Circular Economy in Mountain Value Chains: The Case of Three PDO Cheeses. Foods 2023, 12, 3954

The circular economy (CE) has shown promise for achieving several of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, replacing the linear system and reducing negative impacts on the environment. This research aims to assess the effective adoption of CE principles in three cheeses with geographical indication (GI) through an analysis of the practices identified in their respective value chains. Qualitative interviews show the persistence of historical practices that preserve the heritage behind the product, maintain autonomy in relation to external inputs and save energy or make intelligent use of by-products. Radical adoption of CE principles requires innovation to reduce the use of new inputs and greenhouse gas emissions. GI food products are generally not constrained by standards beyond those set by law, but their specifications can be modified, while respecting practices consistent with the link to the terroir. However, the remoteness of small businesses in deep rural areas, far from research centers, is slowing down the transfer of knowledge and the adoption of the latest technologies, particularly in mountainous areas. More participatory research and innovative initiatives are needed to ensure the transition to a circular economy for traditional mountain products, which are strongly linked to local culinary traditions and cultural identity.