The Effectiveness of Local Food Marketing Strategies of Food Cooperatives
This study examines the role that food consumer cooperatives play in the local food networks. Data are collected from three case studies with leading food cooperatives and a national survey of the general managers of food cooperatives. We identify the emerging business practices in local sourcing as a differentiation and member recruitment strategy for food cooperatives. Our analysis identifies several clusters of strategies used for local food procurement, based on the extent to which the co-op is involved in procurement activities upstream (at the farm), mid-stream (at the distribution center) or downstream (at the food cooperative). The results also show that when compared to other grocers, food co-ops have clear advantages in working with local producers and oftentimes play a key role in the producers’ business viability.
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