percent said they wouldnotbe influenced to shop at a

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					percent said they would notbe influenced to              Regardless of their knowledge of the
shop at a conveniently located market which         meaning of the date, only twelve percent of
offered a “20 cents off’’coupon. When three         the respondents stated that they did not
coupons were offered, 55%said they would be         check for date codes on food products. Over
influenced. When grouped by income level, it        eighty percent do check for date codes on
was evident that respondents in lower income        dairy products.
levels responded more positively to coupons
than those in higher income groups.                      Knowledge of the store manager’s name
                                                    was testedin this study. Only sixteen per-
     The use of unit pricing and open code          cent of those interviewed could correctly
dating are two issues currefitly being de-          name the store manager.    Variation in re-
bated by supermarket chains and consumer            sponse to this question was noticeable from
groups throughout the country.    Forty-six         one chain to another. However, the highest
percent of responding consumers could cor-          correct percentage response for a chain was
rectly interpret a unit price tag and sixty         twenty-two percent, compared to a low of
percent of those who understood unit price          eight percent.
information used it in everyday shopping.
                                                         An area of growth in the food industry
     When presented with an example of open         is the use of private label products. Fifty-
code dating, half of the consumers correctly        seven percent of the respondents correctly
identified the meaning of the date.     More        identified the private label brand for the
than one-quarter thought it was the date            supermarket in which they were interviewed.
after which the product should not be used,         When asked how the quality of private store
Younger consumers proved to be more knowl-          brands compares with national brands, sixty
edgeable of the meaning of open code dating.        percent rated private brands equal or higher.


                           FRESH     SEAFOOD DISTRIBUTION

                             Don L. Long and Charles W. Coale
                   Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
                                   Blacksburg, Virginia

                                                    are faced with rising labor and material
     Study focuses on the transportation            costs with again little individual power to
     problems in the distribution of                influence them.
     fresh seafood in Virginia,
                                                         Fresh seafood distribution, so far as
                                                    the Virginia industry is concerned, is a
     The fresh seafood industry of Virginia         matter of “By guess and by God”, Each pro-
is an industry composed of numerous small           cessor operates pretty much in a vacuum in
volume firms operating in antiquated facil-         the areas of distribution and merchandising.
ities and utilizing much the same work meth-        Each finds his own distributors, each makes
ods which have been practiced over the past         his own sales, each arranges for his own
50 years.   As a result, they are caught in         transportation, and each does his own pro-
a major cost-price squeeze.     Individually        motion in so far as any is done.
sales volume per firm is small and each has
little market power, On the cost side, firms

Journal of Food Distribution Research                                       February 73/page   98
      This particular study focused primarily        d, Coordination in procurement, pro-
 upon the transportation aspects of the dis-    cessing, and distribution was very limited.
 tribution system for fresh Virginia seafood.
 To put it mildly, the inefficiencies un-            e. With limited exceptions, the in-
 covered were staggering,      Imagine if you   dustry operated strictly on rule-of-thumb
 will, a 20 foot trailer leaving for New        measures of cost and productivity.     As a
 York this evening.      This truck will make   result, few operators were ableto accurate-
 pick-ups at 45 or more spots.      At these    ly define their cost, return, and profit
 stops, it will collect the shipments of 70-    situation,
 100 processors and still will not be fully
 loaded.    After all this, it heads for New         f, Distribution poses a major problem
 York City. There. it may find it necessary     to the industry in terms of:
 to spend 8 hours or more unloading at the
 20 or more firms for which it carries ship-             1.   small volume of production;
 ments.  Impossible? Not at all! This case               2,   small volume of buyers;
 may not be the rule but it is not uncommon.             3.   unscheduled,    unregulated
 It does serve to illustrate the problems,                    shipping firms;
                                                         4.   quality control; and
      It is obvious from all this that Vir-              5.   a large geographical area
 ginia fresh seafood distribution is a high                   involved   in   production,
 cost operation.     Fortunately for the in-                  processing and marketing.
 dustry, it has had and still hasa relative-
 lyhighvalue per unit product. To date con-          Preliminary analysis indicatesat least
 sumers have been willing to pay these high     4 possibilities which could be of major
 distribution costs, A few specific findings    benefit to the industry. These were:
 from this study were:
                                                     a. A transportation cooperative or a
      a. Merchandising was almost totally       centralized  informational  clearing house
 ignored by the industry in Virginia beyond     concerning transportation availability;
 developing a brand name. Advertising, pro-
 motion, and merchandising   assistance  to          b. A strong association  or similar
 wholesalers, retailers, and institutional      type organization to provide promotional
 buyers was almost nonexistent.                 and merchandising  assistance to members
                                                themselves and to the trade in behalf of
,-    b. Research and development in pro-       the members;
 curement, processing, marketing and distri-
 bution also almost totally non-existent.            c. Planned management development and
                                                training; and
      c. The level of management within the
 industry was “thin” in terms of both ex-            d. Increased emphasis on research and
 pertise and time available (spent on) for      development .

February 73/page 99                                  Journal of Food Distribution Research

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