AgriFood-Report 2011:6

From the farm to the store - which small-scale food companies take the step?

Authors: Carolina Liljenstolpe 

Small-scale food production is presently a growing sector within the green industry in Sweden and therefore also an important component for future rural development. The growing importance of the sector is visualized through an increased amount of financial subsidies that are targeted to small-scale food businesses within the vision “Sweden- the new culinary nation”. One factor of success for small scale food producer could be the entrance into an external market, as the distribution into external grocery stores involves a relatively high degree of consumer encountering.

The aim of this report is to identify what characterize small-scale producers distributing their output to external grocery stores, compared to those producers that distribute through other market channels. The factors assumed to vary as a result from the distribution channel are related to variable and fixed costs associated with market entry as well as the daily operation of a business. Furthermore, the existence of clusters of producers with same distribution pattern is analyzed by spatial analysis tools in GIS.

The findings of this study suggests that shorter distance to urban areas contribute to the distribution of the output in external grocery stores, while proximity to highways rather indicates that the producer has chosen to distribute through other available distribution channels, such as farm shops. Moreover, it appears that increasing age and male producers sell their output through external grocery stores. Those who distribute in grocery stores are also found to receive a higher degree of subsidies and are to a larger extent registered companies. Cluster analysis indicates strong cluster formations of producers with distribution through grocery stores to some parts in northern Sweden and in the counties of Värmland and Gotland.

The spatial concentration of producers with distribution into grocery stores are highest at municipality level, suggesting that local community based food networks may have better abilities to generate efficient collaborations between producers.

The report is in Swedish with an English summary


Carolina Liljenstolpe

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