Quality food, public procurement, and sustainable development: The school meal revolution in Rome

  • Sonnino R
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In the last decade the concept of quality has been widely used to describe the dynamics that have been shaping the agrifood system. Despite differences in research focus and approach, scholars agree that quality is the outcome of a contingent and so far underresearched process of negotiation that entails and determines relations of power in the food chain. To understand the nature and implications of the relationship between quality and power in the food sector, this paper focuses on the recent ‘quality revolution’ implemented in the school meals system in Rome. Based on the analysis of documentary material and qualitative data collected through formal and informal interviews, the paper examines the process through which city authorities have integrated different (and at times contrasting) quality conventions. The analysis shows that procurement policies such as those implemented in Rome have the power to create an ‘economy of quality’ that can deliver the economic, environmental, and social benefits of sustainable development.

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  • Roberta Sonnino

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