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Marketing local products:
Short and long distribution channels

[ Summary ]

Section II
Collectively marketing local
products via long distribution channels

 

Chapter 1
Issues at stake

 


 


1.4 Six examples, but a multitude
of lessons to be learned

 

Six case studies [1] involving individual and collective rural businesses have demonstrated the following characteristics:

  • great confidence in the possibility of exploiting the potential of local products, each with their own identity and distinctiveness;

  • a “relaxed” attitude to the market and especially to long distribution channels.

These experiences make it possible to draw some lessons, both for those preparing to set up similar activities and for people or LEADER groups who are responsible for harnessing resources and guiding them towards this type of initiative, which calls for competent, flexible and, almost invariably, unconventional support.


    Example 1:
    Agronatura (Piemonte, Italy)

    Agronatura was created in 1982 as a farmers’ cooperative producing medicinal herbs using biodynamic processing methods.

    The cooperative introduced and then extended the cultivation of medicinal herbs as an alternative to traditional crops on poor upland soils. Agronatura is currently working with a wide range of herb-based products, which it markets. In 1997, its annual turnover totalled around 330,000 euros.

    Agronatura’s customers are specialised distributors and Italian as well as foreign wholesalers.

     

     

    For a more detailed presentation of this enterprise, see the directory of “Innovative action programmes and rural development” (LEADER European Observatory).


    Example 2:
    Agrupacion de la Valle del Jerte (Extramadura, Spain)

    This second-level cooperative - so called because it includes 14 small producers’ cooperatives and more than 4,500 members - was created in 1986. Since then, it has organised a series of initiatives to exploit the potential of the local cherry sector (20% of Spain’s cherry market), the produce from which was formerly sold directly to the wholesale market. The operation consisted of developing innovative products, setting up processing facilities, expanding marketing, etc. Today, the cooperative sells a wide range of extremely high quality fresh and processed products via a number of different marketing channels. In 1997, its turnover was around 625,000 euros, broken down as follows:

     

     

    For a more detailed description of this enterprise, see the directory of “Innovative action programmes and rural development” (LEADER European Observatory).


    Example 3:
    Bia Na Rì (Ireland)

    In 1993, “Shannon Basket of Fine Foods”, a branch of an Irish venison cooperative, was created with the objective of expanding sales of food specialities from the Shannon region. The original structure gradually became specialised and expanded farther afield.

    Today Bia Na Rì (“Food of Kings”) is an independent company that supplies Irish farmhouse cheeses to the luxury market.

    The company, which has specialised in the selection of high quality cheeses for discerning customers, sells 45 different types of Irish cheese, as well as other specialities, in Irish and foreign niche markets (turnover in 1997: 160,000 euros).

     

     

    For a more detailed presentation of this enterprise, see the directory of “Innovative action programmes and rural development” (LEADER European Observatory).


    Example 4:
    Fastnet Mussels Ltd (Ireland)

    “Fastnet Mussels” is a fish farm created in 1983 as an aquaculture business concentrating on producing seafood in Bantry Bay. Originally a family business, it grew rapidly thanks to intensive work in the research and development sector, primarily focusing on product innovation. It has perfected a technique for freezing mussels in their half-closed shells that does not impair the product’s taste and guarantees a longer life span. The company has therefore been able to de-seasonalise its production and become competitive in export markets.

     

     

    For a more detailed presentation of this enterprise, see the directory of “Innovative action programmes and rural development” (LEADER European Observatory).


    Example:
    Seine-et-Marne Economic Interest Groups (Ile-de-France, France)

    In 1994, the Seine-et-Marne Chamber of Agriculture launched a marketing service with the aim of helping local agricultural producers to develop marketing channels to complement direct selling. This initiative led to the creation of two economic interest groups (EIGs), “PROFAR 77” and “PRODIFLOR”, which include 10 fresh-food producers and 10 horticulturists respectively. In the space of two years, the EIGs have set up a service for selling products to the top French hypermarket chains, which enabled them to generate turnover in excess of 600,000 euros in 1997.

     

     

    For a more detailed presentation of this enterprise, see the directory of “Innovative action programmes and rural development” (LEADER European Observatory).


    Example 6:
    Saveurs des Pyrenées (France)

    The association “Saveurs des Pyrenées” markets a range of traditional products, made by 15 small individual and collective agribusinesses in the French Pyrenees, on French and foreign markets. The association, which was created in 1984, achieved a turnover of more than 1.8 million euros in 1997, which represents around 20% of the turnover of member businesses.

    In addition to its shop in Louvie-Juzon, “Saveurs des Pyrenées” operates through highly inaccessible marketing channels, which would be extremely difficult for its members to achieve individually (organised distribution and export).

     

     

    For a more detailed presentation of this enterprise, see the directory of “Innovative action programmes and rural development” (LEADER European Observatory).

 


[1] Presented at the LEADER seminar
“Marketing local products in short distribution
channels”, Kinsale (IR), June 1997).



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European
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Agriculture
Directorate-General