RDP project database
Adding Value to Local Cheeses ('Cheese Route Bregenzerwald')
A LEADER project aims at adding value to locally-produced cheeses through collaborative action with district tourism services and improving income for farmers and other rural businesses in a mountain area in the west of Austria.
The Bregenzer Cheese Route initiative in the north-east of Vorarlberg has its origins in an earlier project that aimed to counteract the fall in product prices after Austria joined the EU. Despite the improved business collaboration that was achieved between milk producers, small-scale cheese makers and local tourism / other enterprises, a new training, marketing and promotion initiative was needed to help make the original Cheese Route initiative more sustainable and successful.
The aim of this follow-up project was to further strengthen business activity between regional cheese producers, the local tourism sector and other commercial trade interests in order to: a) add value to cheeses and other local products and services; b) improve the incomes of the predominantly small-scale farmers in the region, and; c) ensure more visitors experience the quality local products in this beautiful part of Austria.
Building on initial achievements from 1998 to 2007, this EAFRD-supported initiative incorporated five mini-projects: i) a range of culinary and cultural events to promote the area; ii) three training and promotion events (the "Spring Awakening; a "Marketplace of Enjoyment" and "Summer Talks") to improve business planning, partnerships and marketing by the local business community, and; iii) finally, a "Cheese Autumn" in 2009 showcased the project achievements for all to see.
Results & Benefits
A total 180 partners from different sectors have taken part in the project and it has helped safeguard local farming methods, employment and the income of 1 200 farming families and 90 alpine dairies. Business turnover through direct marketing has increased significantly making local producers more independent from the mainstream milk buyers. The project is moving towards increasing financial viability through contributions from three main partner groups: farmers, tourism and the public sector.
The project is a good example of the effectiveness of networking for creating synergies between farming, tourism, culture and local economy. However, it is essential to: a) set clear priorities for collaborative actions instead of trying to do too much with limited resources, and; b) prepare well in advance before submitting an application for funding support - this inevitably saves time in the long run.
Project location and other information
Vorarlberg; Bludenz – Bregenzerwald AT341, Austria.
Total project cost (€)
EAFRD contribution (€)
National contribution (€)
Private contribution (€)
+43 5512 236523
Languages for contact
At a glance
Final beneficiary type
Individual farmers, Producer groups, Non-farm or non-forest entreprises
€100 000 - €500 000
Theme / Measure:
Implementing the LEADER Approach
Implementing local development strategies
413. Quality of life/diversification
Added-value, Cheese, Rural tourism, Leader, Entrepreneurship