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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(11), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/socsci7110232

Promises and Failures of the Cooperative Food Retail System in Italy

Faculty of Economy, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart, Largo A. Gemelli, 1, 20123 Milan, Italy
Received: 11 September 2018 / Revised: 15 October 2018 / Accepted: 5 November 2018 / Published: 12 November 2018
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Abstract

The food market is experiencing a period of deep tensions between farmers, food companies, and retailers across the world. This is particularly true in Italy, a Mediterranean country with a strong agricultural tradition and a great interest in the food market. The largest market weight in terms of food retail in Italy is held by national chains linked to the cooperative movement (Coop and Conad) that has promised to ensure more collaborative and less imbalanced relationships between producers and distributors, along with a stronger connection to the territory and socially responsible corporate management. The Coop is currently the biggest cooperative in Italy. Its increasing power in the Italian food retail system has caused it to behave like an oligopoly that has exploited its proximity to left-wing parties to obtain an advantageous position in some markets (ex: Emilia, Liguria, etc.). Equally alarming is a growing financialization which has led to the bankruptcy of CoopCa and Coop Operaie of Trieste, affecting approximately 20,000 investors. The recent crisis in food retail is redirecting firms’ strategies and producing new forms of food distribution such as Alternative Food Networks that are trying to restore the mission and values of the old consumer cooperatives. View Full-Text
Keywords: food retail; cooperative movement; supply chain; buyer power; foundational economy food retail; cooperative movement; supply chain; buyer power; foundational economy
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Arcidiacono, D. Promises and Failures of the Cooperative Food Retail System in Italy. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 232.

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