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Abstract

There has been extremely rapid transformation of the food retail sector in developing regions in the past 5 to 10 years, accompanied by a further consolidation and multi-nationalization of the supermarket sector itself. This organizational change, accompanied by intense competition, has driven changes in the organization of procurement systems of supermarket chains, toward centralized and regionalized systems, use of specialized/dedicated wholesalers and preferred supplier systems, and demanding, private quality standards. These changes in the system have in turn determined the very recent rise of the use of contracts between supermarkets and agrifood producers in these regions to cover provision of services and provision for risk management, as well as requirements for demanding quality and safety attributes, which require substantial investment in technological change and upgrading at the producer level. This paper presents a brief discussion of these trends, followed by a conceptual framework to explain this phenomenon, illustrated with empirical evidence drawn mainly from Latin America.

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