4th Quarter 2006
Resources and the Environment
Resources and the Environment
Ramu Govindasamy and Suzanne Thornsbury, Guest Editors
Ramu Govindasamy and Suzanne Thornsbury, Guest Editors
The U.S. fresh produce sector continues to grow. Markets for these products are increasingly complex and often involve high risks, with the potential for high rewards. Innovations in distribution and technology, retailer and wholesaler consolidation, changing legal environment, international policies, food safety issues, and health concerns create new challenges and new opportunities in a sector where per acre cost of production is already high and traditional government safety nets do not exist.
Jennifer Keeling Bond, Dawn Thilmany, and Craig A. Bond
Bond et al. analyze data from a 2006 national consumer survey on fresh produce purchasing habits, placing emphasis on consumers who purchase directly from producers. They argue that in order to enhance direct sales profitability, it is important to understand the attributes of purchase decisions of targeted consumers. They find that direct consumers do value superior produce and consider support for local producers when making purchase location choices. They also find production practices and locally grown attributes are more important when selecting produce.
Ramu Govindasamy, Aparna Nemana, Venkata Puduri, and Kim Pappas
Govindasamy et al. examine the demographics and marketing of ethnic produce in the Mid-Atlantic States in a study initiated to help farmers identify, size, and seize market niche opportunities for agricultural crops that can be locally grown. There work is based on an ethnic consumer survey involving Chinese, Indian, and Korean consumers. Findings indicate increased market profitability will be attained by exploiting comparative advantages associated with proximity to large, dense, high income population concentrations. They find available opportunities based on: (1) assessing ethnic consumer shopping patterns, 2) analyzing consumer willingness-to-pay for ethnic produce, and 3) suggesting products for potential local production.
Greg Fonsah
Fonsah examines strategies for formulating and implementing traceability regulations in the fruit and vegetable industry. Traceability and Country of Origin Labeling have been at the forefront of the potential regulations. Concerns about traceability adoption have centered on the cost of implementation and associated financial burden to growers. Other studies have shown that the cost of implementation is based on the breath, depth, precision, objective of the system, and subsequent advantage perceived by the implementing firm. The paper discusses an economically efficient approach: (1) on how producers might set up traceability systems, and (2) on how producers might economically and efficiently collect accurate traceability record-keeping data.
Hoy Carman
Carman documents efforts effects of targeting sales to meet growing demands for fresh produce related health benefits by funding research on health attributes and then results through commodity promotional programs. This paper examines programs conducted by four California commodity organizations. The findings indicate the programs have been effective and indicate future increased use of such programs.
Suzanne Thornsbury, Roger Hinson, Lourdes Martinez, and Dixie Watts Reaves
Thornsbury et al. examine the role of fresh produce distributors serving away-from-home food markets. Such operations do not typically transform a specific fresh product, but rather high volume consistent quality products across time and outlets. The dichotomy in size among away-from-home food outlets provides opportunities for a greater number of such distributors to be active when compared with needs in support of retail food sales. Results illustrate that changes in fresh produce distribution and management have created new forms of commercial relationships between suppliers and wholesalers. In some cases, these changes represent valuable opportunities for business, beyond the demand for additional marketing services from suppliers.
Charles R. Hall, John Brooker, David Eastwood, James Epperson, Ed Estes, and Tim Woods
Hall et al. compare produce market development activities in Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Tennessee. They find part of the difficulty confronting smaller operations relates to market access. Increasingly, fruit and vegetable growers with good entrepreneurial skills have established on-farm outlets or created niche markets. Small-volume growers tend to rely more on direct outlets, and sell to final retail consumers, whereas large-scale growers utilize more involved and specialized marketing activities. The different states have pursued different types of market development strategies and have achieved different degrees of success. Kentucky and Tennessee have tended to rely on local initiatives, more independent site selection, and smaller volume outlet activities. Georgia and North Carolina have tended to develop highly coordinated marketing channels that include regional facilities with activities that range from farmers' markets to wholesaling and brokering at the same site.

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