Legitimacy as a barrier: an analysis of brazilian premium cocoa and chocolate legitimation process

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How can a product be legitimated when the legitimation process includes another legitimate product as a barrier? To address this matter, we conducted a process theorization through in-depth analysis of interviews and newspaper articles in the context of Brazilian premium cocoa and chocolate markets. We found that the legitimation process involves the interaction of different actors focused on building cultural-cognitive legitimacy supported, mainly, by normative legitimacy. In this process, media appears as an important market ally in educating consumers. We use institutional theory to show that it is essential to address other legitimate products and the interaction of actors to understand the legitimation process.

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