Beauty is not Only Skin Deep: Food Ethics and Consequences to the Value Chain




Food products, Innovation, Value creation, Labeling, Food Strategy


The contemporary context in which the food industry is set up instigates a new product conception towards food ethics. However, how effectively does this perspective materialize on the gondolas of retail chains? In order to bring some elements to discussion, this article presents an exploratory study based on the decoding of information contained in food labels marketed in Brazil. In total, 287 labels regarding four categories (juices, snacks, chocolates, and yogurt) were analyzed using the Reverse Engineering methodology. The results indicate a movement of brand differentiation structured in actions conducted inside (a result of product and process engineering) and outside (regarding relationship engineering along the value chain). In other words, the internalization of innovations in products and processes (inside perspective) and; the development of vertical cooperation and coordination relations outside the company (outside perspective). In this sense, participation in globally connected markets is described as a driver of differentiation strategies regarding ethical aspects in the food processing industry and has direct effects on the vertical structures of firms, as suggested by the value chain literature.


Não há dados estatísticos.

Biografia do Autor

Vivian Lara Silva, Universidade de São Paulo, Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos

Departamento de Engenharia de Alimentos; Área de Economia das Organizações

Marcia Gabriela C. Kasemodel, Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos, Universidade de São Paulo (FZEA/USP)

Mestre pelo PPG Engenharia de Alimentos da FZEA/USP, Estudo do consumidor

Fausto Makishi, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Instituto de Ciências Agrárias

Professor Doutor, ICA-Instituto de Ciências Agrárias, Inovação e Tecnologia

Roberta de Castro Souza Pião, Escola Politécnica, Universidade de São Paulo (POLI/USP)

Professora Doutora, Departamento de Engenharia de Produção, Estatégia organizacional

Vinícius Machado dos Santos, Faculdade de Zootecnia e Engenharia de Alimentos, Universidade de São Paulo (FZEA/USP)

Graduando em Engenharia de Alimentos PELA FZEA/USP, Tecnologia de processamento


Abras_Brazilian Association of Supermarkets (2019). Sector Information. Department of Economics and Research. Retrieved from: Accessed 01 May 2019.

Aguilera, J. M. (2006), Perspective Seligman Lecture 2005 Food product engineering: Building the right structures, Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 86, 1147-1155.

Ahvenainen, R. (2003). Novel food packaging techniques. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Barney, J. (1991). Firm resources and sustained competitive advantage, Journal of management, 17(1), 99-120.

Beekman V. (2000) You are what you eat: Meat, novel protein foods and consumptive freedom. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 12(2):185-196.

Bissinger, K., & Leufkens, D. (2017). Ethical food labels in consumer preferences, British Food Journal, 119(8), 1801-1814.

Boehe, D. M., & Cruz, L. B. (2010). Corporate social responsibility, product differentiation strategy and export performance, Journal of Business ethics, 91(2), 325-346.

Brazil. Agência Nacional de Vigilância Sanitária – ANVISA. Resolução nº 21, de 26 janeiro 2001. Retrieved from: 21_01rdc.htm. Accessed 12 Out 2018.

Brom, F. W. A. (2000). Food, consumer concerns, and trust: Food ethics for a globalizing market, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 12, 127-139.

Brug, J., Debie, S., Assema, P. & Weijts, W. (1995). Psychosocial Determinants of fruit and vegetable consumption among adults: Results of focus group interviews. Food Quality and Preference, 6(2), 99-107.

Caswell, J. A., & Mojduszka, E. M. (1996). Using informational labeling to influence the market for quality in food products. American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 78(5), 1248-1253.

Chan, C., Patch, C., & Williams, P. (2005). Australian consumers are sceptical about but influenced by claims about fat on food labels. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 59(1), 148-151.

Coff, C. (2013). A semiotic approach to food and ethics in everyday life, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 26(4), 813-825.

Deblonde, M., de Graaff, R., & Brom, F.J Agric environ ethics. (2007). Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. 20, 99-118. Doi: 10.1007/s10806-006-9019-4.

De Tavernier, J. (2012). Food citizenship: Is there a duty for responsible consumption?, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 25, 895-907.

Du, S., Bhattacharya, C., & Sen, S. (2007). Reaping relational rewards from corporate social responsibility: The role of competitive positioning, International Journal of Research in Marketing, 24, 224-241.

Early, R. (2002). Food ethics: A decision making tool for the food industry? International Journal of Food Science and Technology, 37(4), 339-349.

Euromonitor. (2014). Corporate strategies in health and wellness: Part 1 focus developed markets.

Retrieved from: Accessed 30 Nov 2017.

Feunekes, G. I., Gortemaker, I. A., Willems, A. A., Lion, R., & Van Den Kommer, M. (2008). Front-of-pack nutrition labelling: testing effectiveness of different nutrition labelling formats front-of-pack in four European countries. Appetite, 50(1), 57-70.

Garcia-Gonzalez, L., Geeraerd, A. H., Spilimbergo, S., Elst, K., Van Ginneken, L., Debevere, J., ... & Devlieghere, F. (2007). High pressure carbon dioxide inactivation of microorganisms in foods: the past, the present and the future. International Journal of Food Microbiology, 117(1), 1-28.

Govindan, K. (2018). Sustainable consumption and production in the food supply chain: A conceptual framework. International Journal of Production Economics, 195, 419-431

Green, P. & Srinivasan, V. (1978). Conjoint analysis in consumer research: Issues and outlook, Journal of Consumer Research, 5(2), 103-123. Doi: 10.1086/208721.

Green P.E. & Srinivasan V., (1990). Conjoint analysis in marketing: New developments with implications for research and practice. Journal of Marketing, 54, 3-19.

Grunert, K. G., Hieke, S., & Wills, J. (2014). Sustainability labels on food products: Consumer motivation, understanding and use. Food Policy, 44, 177-189.

Grunert K.G., Baadsgaard, A., Larsen H.H. & Madsen T.K., (1996), Market orientation in food and agriculture. Boston, Kluwer Academic.

Henson, S., & Humphrey, J. (2009). The impacts of private food safety standards on the food chain and on public standard-setting processes, Joint FAO/WHO Food Standards Programme, Codex Alimentarius Commission, Third-second Session, Rome, 29 June – 4 July 2009.

Hepting, D. H., Jaffe, J., & Maciag, T. (2014). Operationalizing ethics in food choice decisions, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 27, 453-469.

Hodgkins, C., Barnett, J., Wasowicz-Kirylo, G., Stysko-Kunkowska, M., Gulcan, Y., Kustepeli, Y. & Gibbs, M. (2012). Understanding how consumers categorise nutritional labels: a consumer derived typology for front-of-pack nutrition labelling. Appetite, 59(3), 806-817.

Humphrey, J. & Memedovic, O. (2006). Global value chains in the agrifood sector. Available at: 16 April 2019.

Irvine, R. (2013). Food ethics: Issues of consumption and production, Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 10(2), 145-148.

Janßen, D., Langen, N., (2017). The bunch of sustainability labels – Do consumers differentiate? Journal of Cleaner Production, 143, 1233-1245.

Jaffee, D. (2008). Better, but not great: the social and environmental benefits and limitations of Fair Trade for indigenous coffee producers in Oaxaca, Mexico’. In: Ruben, R. (ed.) The impact of Fair Trade. Academic Publishers, Wageningen.

Ingle, K. (1994). Reverse engineering. McGraw-Hill, Inc., New York.

Kasemodel, M. G. C., Makishi, F., Souza, R. C., & Silva, V. L. (2016). Following the trail of crumbs: A bibliometric study on consumer behavior in the Food Science and Technology field, International Journal of Food Studies, 5, 73-83.

Korthals, M. (2001), Taking consumers seriously: Two concepts of consumer sovereignty, Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, 14, 201-2015.

Loaharanu, P. (1996). Irradiation as a cold pasteurization process of food. Veterinary Parasitology, 64(1-2), 71-82.

Lopez, J. (2014) Changing role of business. Creating Shared Value Forum 2014.

Retrieved from:

Loureiro, M. L., & Lotade, J. (2005). Do fair trade and eco-labels in coffee wake up the consumer conscience? Ecological economics, 53(1), 129-138.

Mangina, E., & Vlachos, I.P. (2005), The changing role of information technology in food and beverage logistics management: beverage network optimization using intelligent agent technology, Journal of Food Engineering, 70(3), 403-420.

Manzini, R., & Accorsi, R. (2013), The new conceptual framework for food supply chain assessment, Journal of Food Engineering, 115(2), 251-263.

Marsh, K., & Bugusu, B. (2007). Food packaging: Roles, materials, and environmental issues. Journal of food science, 72(3), 39-55.

Melo, M.F.S., Sproesser, R.L., Campos-Silva, W.L.; Piao, R.S. (2018). Business strategy and environmental practices: Evidence in the sugarcane energy sector in Brazil. African Journal of Business Management, 12, 44-57.

Mintel. (2016). Global Food and Drink Trends 2016. Mintel. Retrieved from

Mintel. Global New Product Database. Mintel. (2017). Retrieved from

Nancarrow, C., Wright, T.L. & Brace, I. (1998). Gaining competitive advantage from packaging and labeling in marketing communications. British Food Journal, 100(2), 110-8.

Neumark-Sztainer, D., Story, M., Perry, C. & Casey, M.A. (1999). Factors influencing food choices of adolescents: findings from focus-group discussions with adolescents. Journal of the American dietetic association, 99(8), 929-937.

Otto, K. & Wood, K. (1996). A reverse engineering and redesign methodology for product evolution. Proceedings of the ASME Design Theory and Methodology Conference, Irvine, CA.

Prendergast, G., & Pitt, L. (1996). Packaging, marketing logistics and the environment: are there trade-offs? International Journal of Physical Distribution & Logistics Management,

(6), 60-72.

Rettie, R. & Brewer, C. (2000). The verbal and visual components of package design. Journal of Product & Brand Management, 9(1), 56-70.

Robertson, G.L. (2012). Food packaging: principles and practice. CRC Press, Boca Raton.

Rodrigues, D.B., Dalmarco, D. A. S., Aoqui, C., Marinho, B. L. (2016). The meaning of the organic certification label for the consumer: a cluster analysis. REGE-Revista de Gestão, 23, 316-325.

Saes, M.S.M., Silva, V.L., Nunes, R., & Gomes, T.M. (2014). Partnerships, learning, and adaptation: A cooperative founded by Japanese immigrants in the Amazon rainforest. International Journal of Business and Social Science, 5, 131-141.

Saguy, S., Singh, R.P., Johnson, T., Fryer, P.J., & Sastry, S.K. (2013). Challenges facing food engineering, Journal of Food Engineering, 119(2), 332-342.

Sarantopoulos, C.I.G.L., De Oliveira, L.M., Canavesi, E. (2001). Requisitos de conservação de alimentos em embalagens flexíveis. CETEA/ITAL.

Severo, E.A.; Guimarães, J.C.F.; Dorion, E.C.H. (2018). Cleaner production, social responsibility and eco-innovation: generations’ perception for a sustainable future. Journal of Cleaner Production, 186, 91-103.

Shine, A., O’Reilly, S., & O’Sullivan, K. (1997). Consumer use of nutrition labels. British Food Journal, 99(8), 290-296.

Silayoi, P. & Speece, M. (2007). The importance of packaging attributes: a conjoint analysis approach. European Journal of Marketing, 41(11/12), 1495-1517. Doi: 10.1108/03090560710821279.

Silva, V.L. (2017). Olhando fora da caixa: estratégia de diferenciação e governança de relacionamentos na indústria de alimentos. 1st ed. Portal de Livros Abertos da USP. Retrieved from: Doi:10.11606/9788566404098.

Silva, V. L., Sereno, A.M., & Sobral, P.J.A. (2018). Food Industry and processing technology: On Time to Harmonize Technology and Social Drivers, Food Engineering Reviews,


Smith, J.P., Ramaswamy, H.S., Simpson, B.K. (1990). Developments in food packaging technology. Part II. Storage aspects. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 1, 111-118.

Thomopoulos, R., Croitoru, M., & Tamani, N. (2015). Decision support for agri-food chains: A reverse engineering argumentation-based approach. Ecological Informatics, 26, 182-191.

Vale, D., Morais, C. M. M. D., Pedrosa, L. D. F. C., Ferreira, M. Â. F., Oliveira, Â. G. R. D. C., & Lyra, C. D. O. (2019). Correlação espacial entre o excesso de peso, aquisição de alimentos ultraprocessados e o desenvolvimento humano no Brasil. Ciência & Saúde Coletiva, 24, 983-996.

Van der Pol, M. & Ryan, M. (1996). Using conjoint analysis to establish consumer preferences for fruit and vegetables. British Food Journal, 98(8), 5-12. Doi:

Vecchio, R. & Annunziata, A. (2015). Willingness-to-pay for sustainability-labelled chocolate: An experimental auction approach. Journal of Cleaner Production, 86, 335-342.

Doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.08.006.

Veiga, J. P. C., Makishi, F., & Zacareli, M. A. (2016). Corporate Leadership, Multilevel Enforcement and Biodiversity Regulation, Journal of Business, 1(3), 43-53.

Verbeke, W., & Ward, R.W. (2006). Consumer interest in information cues denoting quality, traceability and origin: An application of ordered probit models to beef labels. Food Quality and Preference, 17(6), 453-467.

Viana, M.V., Silva, V.L., & Trindade, M.A. (2014). Consumers’ perception of beef burgers with different healthy attributes. Lebensmittel-Wissenschaft + Technologie / Food Science + Technology, 1227-1232.

Welti-Chanes, J., Ochoa-Velasco, C.E., & Guerrero-Beltrán, J.A. (2009). High-pressure homogenization of orange juice to inactivate pectinmethylesterase. Innovative Food Science & Emerging Technologies, 10(4), 457-462.

World Food Summit (1996). Food security. FAO’s Agriculture and Development Economics Division. Retrieved from: Accessed 01 May 2019.

Zatorre, R. (2005). Music, the food of neuroscience? Nature, 434(7031), 312.




Como Citar

Silva, V. L., Kasemodel, M. G. C., Makishi, F., Pião, R. de C. S., & Santos, V. M. dos. (2019). Beauty is not Only Skin Deep: Food Ethics and Consequences to the Value Chain. Internext, 14(3), 286–303.



Applied Research Articles