Paper reproduction signed by Cepea researchers is allowed provided the following is mentioned: author's name, author's professional qualification and affiliation to Cepea as well as the publication date on this page.

How can the supply chain of fruits and vegetables prioritize quality?

This may sound like an odd question; however, isn’t the food supply chain organized to meet consumers’ demands for a safe and quality product? For consumers to become priority in a supply chain, there has to be better coordination and integration between all stakeholders of the chain. More coordination is needed to demand and ensure products with minimum standards to provide quality and greater integration between in the chain, mainly between growers and retailers.


The lack of coordination in the fruits and vegetables chain is considered the main limitation for modernizing the sector. Without coordination, it is difficult to implement food standardization, traceability and safety. However, who holds responsibility to coordinate the chain? Is it the government, suppliers, growers’ coops, retailers or consumers? It is observed that all advances for the coordination of the fruits and vegetables chain are decentralized and led by isolated initiatives of companies. The lack of initiatives for the coordination between chain links, along with the lack of a thorough modernization project, limit benefits, such as quality, for the sector as a whole.


The first step to improve quality is the adoption of a single language in the chain, throughout standardization, which is much more than defining the size of the fruit and vegetable sector. Stablishing a quality standard means to guarantee characteristics and quality of products to growers, traders and consumers, providing a common language among the chain stakeholders. Nevertheless, why hasn’t the sector advanced is this basic requirement? The main reason is low demand from consumers combined with a limited classification infrastructure, which is concentrated at large-scale growers.


Some agents from the sector fear that standardization of procedures and processes in the sector will hamper the flow of products with lower quality. However, this argument is not based on economic factors, since the market enhances if the product is reliable.


The sector still does not have a standard regarding fruits and vegetables that allows pricing by objective and transparent criteria. For the sector to advance, two actions are crucial: pricing per weight and no trading of green fruits. This would ensure fewer pricing disparities along the chain and products with better quality.


The discussion regarding standardization is necessary, but it is far from consumers’ wishes in terms of quality, which includes appearance, maturation stage, and safety from toxic residues. This quality level will only attained with greater integration between growers and retailers.


One way to promote integration is be the adoption of “Minimum Handling”, which means the product is not to be handled after wrapping up at the farm of origin. Thus, all links in the chain would have to adjust to trade the product wrapped, including retailers. Besides, initiatives of standardization, traceability and convenience (packed product) could be encouraged with the “Minimum Handling” practice.


However, the question remains: who is to coordinate the chain with the Minimum Handling to benefit all? Some supermarket chains are already organizing with their suppliers to offer products that are no longer handled by the supermarket chain. Nevertheless, isolated initiatives need to be formalized it in the sector as a whole to be viable, focusing on quality.


04/10/2021 - Brazilian fruit exports are likely to hit USD 1 billion in 2021 - Fernanda Geraldini 27/09/2021 - Crop failure and higher demand boost quotes in the 2021/22 season - Ivelise Rasera Bragato Calcidoni 14/09/2021 - Changes in the global market for cassava and byproducts and opportunities for Brazil - Fábio Isaias Felipe 31/08/2021 - Fertilizer prices at high levels challenge producers - Mauro Osaki 23/08/2021 - Why don't we eat more fruits and vegetables? - Margarete Boteon 17/08/2021 - The Cattle Team: beyond the Index - Shirley Martins Menezes Svazati 26/07/2021 - Corn futures, regional pricing and risk management - Lucilio Rogerio Aparecido Alves 12/07/2021 - Risk of blackout crisis and electric power rationing: back to the future? - Heloisa Lee Burnquist and Danielle Mendes Thame Denny 14/06/2021 - Importance and complexity of agribusiness in Brazil - Gabriel Costeira Machado 19/04/2021 - Food security and Brazil's role in the global food supply - Andréia Adami 18/03/2021 - Labor market and the pandemic: agribusiness' resilience through crisis - Felipe Miranda de Souza Almeida 22/02/2021 - History, challenges and the importance of Cepea's milk research - Natália Grigol 17/02/2021 - Agricultural commodities: a new boom? - Geraldo Barros 01/02/2021 - Price oscillations for grains, fiber and tubers: from farmers to the retail market - Lucilio Rogerio Aparecido Alves 25/11/2020 - Brazil continues competitive in the world cattle farming - Thiago Bernardino de Carvalho

Preencha o formulário para realizar o download
Deseja receber informações do Cepea?

Type this code in the field next to