Case Studies of Organisational Resilience in the Co-operative Business Model
Edited by Tim Mazzarol, Sophie Reboud, Elena Mamouni Limnios and Delwyn Clark
Chapter 26: Organisational innovation in fresh produce co-operatives: the case of FresQ in the Netherlands
Over the last two decades, the market of fresh produce in Europe has experienced tremendous changes. Supermarkets have become the dominant outlet for fruit and vegetables (F & V), and they have forced strict quality requirements on producers. Farms have become larger, producers more professional. The role of marketing co-operatives has changed dramatically; where formerly they focused on providing a marketplace and on bargaining on behalf of their members, today they are full service providers to their retail customers. New strategies and structures have been adopted. Internal decision-making has become more challenging because the membership has become more heterogeneous and because the co-operative has to accommodate both the interests of the members and those of its customers. Fresh produce marketing can be organised according to different sales and price determination models. As F & V are perishable products, and both supply and demand are volatile due to variable weather conditions, flexibility in the market and efficient logistics are important conditions. F & V can be sold through bilateral bargaining between grower and trader, through collective bargaining through growers' association or co-operative and trader, or through an auction where the price is determined by the auction clock. Bargaining can take place about today's harvest, or about products to be harvested within a week, a month, or a season.
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