Buying Produce Directly
> Industry studies released in the late 1950s pointed to a trend among larger chains toward the direct buying of produce. A study conducted for the U.S. Department of Agriculture found that buying trends were culminating in the elimination of the middle man. This shift was forcing smaller chains to use a variety of cooperative wholesale endeavors just to compete.
Trends toward direct buying would continue to evolve into today's buying of produce. In the wake of the consolidation of the late 1990s, direct buying resurged to overcome the fragmentation of sources of the earlier part of the decade. In 1996, 42.1% of retailers purchased directly from grower/shippers. By 2001, the number of retailers buying direct increased to 56.7%, according to statistics from the Produce Marketing Association.
Conversely, as the retail side of the industry experienced accelerated consolidation, forming large conglomerates whose direct orders were much larger, the suppliers themselves also consolidated. As a result, today's process of direct buying has come a long way from the 1950s method.