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The aim of the paper is to analyse patterns of value system sharing along food chains, so to explore the agro-food enterprises capacity to be competitive and sustainable. The research focused on three food chains: potato, fruit, and Grana cheese of Emilia Romagna region. The paper adopts the value system approach. The methodology is aimed at creating a consolidated financial statement for each food chain so to re-create the chain operating profit and identify how this is shared among the different food chain stages. The analysis is carried out on 189 enterprises for the potato chain, 187 for the fruit chain and 203 for the cheese chain. The number of enterprises was invariable over the 5 year 2003-2007, leading to some 2,900 financial statement analysis. The chains analysed show differences. In the potato and fruit chains 35% of value is created by distribution, whereas in cheese chain only 13.6%. Over the five years value decreases 5% in fruit and potato and 9% in cheese. The lack of adequate strategic food chain partnership allows an increasing retail market power over the whole chain at the expenses of the primary sector entailing a declining sustainability for all chain actors.


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