Values-Based Food Suppy Chain Case Study: Red Tomato
Posted August 2013
Red Tomato is a non-profit organization that carries out marketing and distribution functions for 40 fruit and vegetable farmers, mostly in the northeastern U.S. As of 2011, more than 200 grocery stores and supermarkets carried Red Tomato products throughout New England and the mid-Atlantic. Red Tomato uses a unique pricing system based on the fair trade model. Prices are based on a combination of production costs, experiences in the market and the growers’ sense of what’s fair. In addition to higher prices, Red Tomato offers growers access to new market channels and outlets for smalls or seconds. Red Tomato’s latest marketing efforts emphasize the themes that are central to its brand story: fresh, flavorful food; support of farmers; fair and trustworthy business practices; connecting farmers, eaters and buyers; changing the food system for a better world; earth-friendly; and regional focus in the Northeast.
These publications are part of a series of case studies and Research Briefs examining values-based food supply chains—strategic business alliances formed between primarily midsize farms/ranches and their supply chain partners. Values-based food supply chains distribute significant volumes of high-quality, differentiated food products and share the rewards equitably. Farmers and ranchers function as strategic partners rather than easily replaced input suppliers. All participants in these business alliances recognize that creating maximum value for the product depends on significant interdependence, collaboration and mutual support. These supply chains attach importance to both the values embedded in the production of the food products AND the values that characterize the business relationships.