For several decades, Western European countries have observed an increase in interest in high-quality products manufactured using traditional methods. To meet consumer expectations, the European Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has introduced a Quality Policy aimed at managing this area. The system introduced by the CAP is responsible for designating and distinguishing regional products with a known reputation and products of a traditional nature.
The European quality policy distinguishes two product categories:
- regional products of known origin covered by Protected Designation of Origin and Protected Geographical Indications and
- traditional products covered by Traditional Specialty Guaranteed.
The objectives of introducing these designations are not only to inform consumers about the high quality of products, but also to protect manufacturers against unfair competition introducing goods to the market that do not comply with rigorous EU standards.
The protection and promotion of regional and traditional products translates into the preservation of the cultural heritage of rural areas and less favoured areas (LFA). This is an important factor increasing the attractiveness of these areas and thus preventing their depopulation. Additionally, the introduction of a clear identification system gives consumers confidence in the high quality of the products they buy. Product differentiation on the food and agricultural market requires clear, precise information regarding their quality and origin.
The quality policy implemented within the European Union not only protects consumers, but also supports the development of rural areas and agritourism by promoting high-quality regional and traditional products.
Quality designations were awarded to Polish products such as Old Polish pork and beef hunting sausage (Guaranteed Traditional Specialty), which owes its name to the addition of forest juniper and the traditional method of smoking in juniper smoke.