|Exporting High-Value Food Commodities: Success Stories from Developing Countries (WB, 1993, 119 p.)|
|II. Economic and institutional issues in the marketing of high-value foods|
|Technologies, institutions. and other solutions to generic food marketing problems|
2.41 Certain technologies can be introduced at the production level which have strong marketing implications. For example, crop varieties can be developed and adopted which yield commercial harvests sooner, which have a more extended seasonal yielding pattern, and whose harvested product has improved storage, taste, and other properties. Certain cultivation practices and chemicals can induce or delay crop maturity. Production under controlled irrigation or under controlled temperature, lighting, and other conditions can again influence the timing or seasonality of production as well as the quality of raw material output. These (and many other) production technologies may reduce production risks, enable producers to diversify their crop/livestock mix, and facilitate closer coordination between production and subsequent processing or distribution activities.
2.42 There are a wide range of well-established or emerging technologies which can facilitate the post-harvest flow of food products and raw materials by countering their perishability and/or bulkiness, and thereby lowering the risks and/or costs of commodity storage and transport. These include controlled atmosphere storage and transport, advanced mechanical handling techniques, vacuum and polyethylene packaging, wax coating, irradiation, and containerization in internal and international transport. Computerized warehousing and computer monitoring of goods in transit can improve physical commodity and informational flows, plus provide early quality control warnings.
2.43 Many processing and related food technologies can facilitate improved physical product flows, counter the uncertainties and costs of raw material procurement, and enhance consumer demand. Many processing functions directly reduce the bulkiness of and perishability of raw materials. The use of ultra-high temperature processing, together with aseptic packaging, can extend the marketable life of ordinarily highly perishable commodities (e.g. 'long-life' milk). Some technologies enable the replacement of natural raw materials with tailormade fat-, sugar-, beverage-, and other product substitutes. This obviates the need to coordinate processing with farm production. New processing technologies can facilitate greater uniformity of output, greater hygiene, or lower unit costs of production.
2.44 Still other technologies can facilitate improved monitoring of demand and improved communications between commodity system participants. Laser scanners at retail locations are an example of the former. Scanning not only speeds up retailer inventory management, but provides detailed information about the buying patterns of consumers: information which can be very valuable both to the retailer and to food manufacturers. Improved communications via facsimile, computer networks, and other devices can lower the costs of doing business and keep suppliers and buyers in up-to-the-minute contact regarding available suppliers, delivery times, prices, etc..