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SME Food Suppliers Versus Large Retailers: Perspectives in the International Supply Chains


  • Cosetta Pepe

    () (Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata")

  • Fabio Musso

    () (Università degli Studi di Roma Urbino "Carlo Bo")

  • Mario Risso

    () (Università degli Studi di Roma "Tor Vergata")


The market share of international retail chains substantially increased from the beginning of the nineties. The supplier’s market has been adapted to the evolutions of retailers’ market in terms of modified purchasing processes. Due to these changes, the requirements for food industry suppliers grew in number and quality. The paper shows how the relationship between suppliers and retailers is affected by several important changes, above all at international level. In particular, the analysis is focused on the Italian food SME suppliers related with large retailers. In-depth interviews to 89 Italian food SME suppliers have been conducted in 2008. Results have been analyzed and compared to the retailers’ point of view, resulting from public reports (such as Annual report, CSR report, etc.). Considering the selection criteria used by retailers, one of the main results of the analysis is that the growth of small and medium suppliers is stimulated when they operate with international large retailers. At the same time, the pressure on price and the required organizational qualifications lead to a selection process in which smaller manufacturers seem to be the more vulnerable actors.

Suggested Citation

  • Cosetta Pepe & Fabio Musso & Mario Risso, 2010. "SME Food Suppliers Versus Large Retailers: Perspectives in the International Supply Chains," DSI Essays Series, DSI - Dipartimento di Studi sull'Impresa, vol. 13.
  • Handle: RePEc:tov:dsiess:v:13:y:2010

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    Cited by:

    1. Pepe, Cosetta & Musso, Fabio & Risso, Mario, 2009. "Retailers and SME suppliers social responsibility in international supply chains," MPRA Paper 31112, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Pepe, Cosetta & Musso, Fabio & Risso, Mario, 2010. "The social responsibility of retailers and small and medium suppliers in international supply chains," MPRA Paper 57943, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised 2010.
    3. Fabio Musso & Mario Risso & Barbara Francioni, 2011. "Grande distribuzione alimentare e criteri di selezione dei fornitori nella prospettiva dei piccoli e medi produttori," MERCATI E COMPETITIVITÀ, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2011(1), pages 73-92.

    More about this item


    Supplier-Retailer Relations; Italian Food SME; Large Retailers; International Supply Chains;

    JEL classification:

    • M10 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - General
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L66 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Manufacturing - - - Food; Beverages; Cosmetics; Tobacco
    • L81 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Retail and Wholesale Trade; e-Commerce


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