This paper tests the hypothesis that region‐of‐origin cues and EU certificates of origin (PDO protection labels) influence regional food product preferences directly, and not only indirectly through perceived quality, as has sometimes been affirmed. Conjoint analysis is applied to data on Italian consumers' quality perceptions and preferences for extra virgin olive oils from the Sabina and Canino regions of Lazio, Italy. The region‐of‐origin cue and the PDO label were both found to influence regional product preferences through perceived quality, although the effect is limited to specific consumer segments. Furthermore, the region‐of‐origin cue has a direct effect on regional product preference for some consumer segments, especially those resident in the product's region of origin. No direct effect of PDO labels on product preference was found.

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