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The still ongoing processes of consolidation and globalization affect the organizational diversity of the food system in very complex and somehow contradictory ways. The few transnational companies (TNCs) in whose hands the most part of food processing and distribution activities is concentrated, continuously look for organizational innovations to enhance their profits. Inter-firms collaborative arrangements, global sourcing and sector diversification are some of the most widely followed strategies that require (and/or lead to) new organizational forms. The paper identifies some important patterns of organizational structures and innovation in the food (and specifically food retailing) system, in order to evaluate the role and the competitiveness of cooperatives with respect to other organizational forms.


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