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U.S. Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Marketing: Emerging Trade Practices, Trends, and Issues

by Linda Calvin, Roberta Cook, Mark Denbaly, Carolyn Dimitri, Lewrene Glaser, Charles Handy, Mark Jekanowski, Phillip Kaufman, Barry Krissoff, Gary Thompson, and Suzanne Thornsbury

Agricultural Economic Report No. (AER-795) 60 pp, January 2001

In the past year, trade practices between fresh produce shippers and food retailers gained national attention. Shippers are concerned that recent retail consolidation has led to market power and the growing incidence of fees and services. Retailers argue that these new trade practices reflect their costs of doing business and the demands of consumers. Trade practices include fees such as volume discounts and slotting fees, as well as services like automatic inventory replenishment, special packaging, and requirements for third-party food safety certification. Trade practices also refer to the overall structure of a transaction—for example, long-term relationships or contracts versus daily sales with no continuing commitment. This study compares trade practices in 1999 with those prevalent in 1994, placing them in the broader context of the evolving shipper/retailer relationship. Most shippers and retailers reported that the incidence and magnitude of fees and services associated with transactions has increased over the last 5 years. Fees paid to retailers are usually around 1-2 percent of sales for most of the commodities we examined, but 1-8 percent for bagged salads.

Keywords: produce, fresh fruit and vegetables, fresh-cut produce, trade practices, fees and services, slotting fees, retail consolidation, produce shipper consolidation

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Last updated: Friday, December 28, 2012

For more information contact: Linda Calvin, Roberta Cook, Mark Denbaly, Carolyn Dimitri, Lewrene Glaser, Charles Handy, Mark Jekanowski, Phillip Kaufman, Barry Krissoff, Gary Thompson, and Suzanne Thornsbury

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