Italy, with a cultivated area of 218,000 ha, is a European leader of rice production. In particular Lombardy region accounts for 40% of total rice cultivation and the case study in object accounts for 3.2% of Lombardy total rice area (2773 ha). Starting from 2012, through a regional project titled Buono, Sano e Vicino (good, healthy and close), Riso e Rane rural district supported local rice farmers in developing innovation in rice production and promoting an alternative supply chain to increase farmers bargaining power and promote new market strategies. More specifically, the innovation introduced is a new biotech method for variety certification, named DNA controllato (DNA tested). In the first step of the project, the attention was focused on an Italian traditional variety of rice: Carnaroli rice. Thanks to a commercial agreement with one of the most important large retailers in Lombardy, the Riso e Rane rice is offered for sale both in the traditional and wholegrain version. In this context, this work aims to evaluate the determinants of consumer’s quality perception of this product, through a preference study of the commercial rice package. Preliminary results reveal that consumers perceive information about origin, local food-system and tradition more easily than DNA tested certification. In conclusion, this work contributes to evaluate the role of bio economy applications to the food sector and offers new insights for the debate about the relationships between tradition and innovation.
Innovation; Consumer; Tradition; Rice