WUWM Conference – “Fresh Market Management: Meeting Customer Needs”

23 - 25 May 2013
Helsinki, Finland

Executive summary:
During the WUWM Conference in Helsinki experts discussed the integration of foreign market costs on domestic market prices and increased consumer spending. Many customers are now able to afford higher food prices which they could not in the past. Attendants also discussed that wholesale and retail markets need to keep up with structural changes. For example, markets should increase their opening hours due to changing shopping activity of consumers. Other important topics included ensuring cost/price transparency and the preferences of the current market customer. A market that offers a wide variety of services is often preferred as customers will apply ‘one-stop shopping’ and not have to go to other shops.

The key outcomes of this meeting are:

  1. Agricultural and food markets have become more and more integrated
    1. Price changes in the world markets have direct impact on the domestic price levels
    2. Changes in global consumption structures have indirect impact on the domestic price levels
  2. Most consumers can afford high food prices
    1. More diversified supply is needed to serve different groups of consumers
    2. Lack of competition at one stage of the food chain leads to unequal distribution of income within the chain
  3. Synergy among wholesalers in a similar market can lead to (and has led to, in for example the Fruit and Vegetable Market of Padua – MAAP):
      1. a strong scale economy in the acquisition of goods and services used commonly (such as clearing of common areas, rat extermination services, reception, video-surveillance and plant maintenance)
      2. the realization of a center where data is processed for the outsourcing management of bookkeeping of each company of the market, the management of employees and the fulfilment of the regulations relevant to labor and taxation also during auditing from inspection bodies
      1. the realization of training courses and meetings to inform the operators about new operational regulations
      1. the realization and management of a consortium among operators to export products to the countries outside of the European Union
      2. realization of units/logistics platforms abroad to support and sell products from the Padua market
      1. training and prevention courses (sanitary surveillance) for employees maintenance, updates and the customization of software used by the wholesalers programs for the assistance and maintenance of hardware
      2. standardization of IT and operational procedures (such as production and the printing of documents)
      1. printing and filing of the documents of each company that works in the market
      2. telematic forwarding of documents for public bodies.
  4. Wholesalers cannot stop or influence structural changes. The industry has to adapt and must not grieve for the past. The needs of the market must be identified. The wants and wishes of companies trading at the wholesale market have to be addressed. Investments in buildings or in infrastructure must be made jointly with the traders in order to adapt to structural changes. The aim is to increase the diversity of products on offer and the range of companies operating at the market. Start-up’s, for example in internet selling, must be supported. Opening hours should be adjusted more flexibly to the needs of customers.

Main issues discussed:

  • Markets – Ensuring Cost / Price Transparency
    • Kyösti Arovuori, Agricultural Economist, Pellervo Economic Research PTT, Finland
  • Markets – Promoting Beneficial Food Cultures
    • Vilhelm Relander, Project Manager, City of Helsinki Wholesale Market, Finland
    • Núria Costa Galobart, Head of Communications and International Relations, IMMB, Spain
    • Professor Johanna Mäkelä, Department of Teacher Education, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • The Current Market Customer
    • Jyri Arponen, Senior Lead Business Development, SITRA – Finnish Innovation Fund, Finland
    • Uwe Kluge, Managing Director, Großmarkt Bremen, Germany
    • Francesco Cera, Managing Director, Padua Market, Italy
    • Alberto Filippino, General Manager, Padua Market Wholesalers Association, Italy
  • Quality in the Market
    • Stéphane Layani, Chairman & CEO, Rungis International Market, Paris, France
    • Juan Jose Capó, Managing Director, Mercacordoba, Spain


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