Cooperatives keeping pace with modern commerce

By: trademagazin Date: 2008. 09. 05. 08:00

At present, fifty production and sales cooperatives are active in Hungary. Merchandise is supplied by their members (primarily fruits and vegetables) and delivered without the participation of intermediaries.Mórakert – this is how the largest cooperative venture for producing and supplying fruits and vegetables is generally referred to. It has 800 members and another 1,500 suppliers who produce 60,000 tonnes of produce per year. Their total warehousing and refrigerating capacity is 30,000 square meters and the cooperative generates total annual revenues of HUF 8.5 billion. According to József Rácz director, the gradual shift resulting in hyper markets becoming the primary distribution channel for fruits and vegetables came as no surprise for them. Délalföldi Kertészek Szövetkezete was established in 2002 with a membership of 235, which has increased to 620 since then. Most of their production comes from greenhouses and foil tents. Their current annual production is 20,000 tonnes per year, while their revenues amount to HUF 4.5 billion. Retail chains are their biggest customers, which account for 50-55 per cent of total sales. 25-28 per cent of their production is exported, generating export revenues of HUF 1 billion. Their production is 100 per cent traceable, with the use of a state of the art bar code system. 60 per cent of their production is protected by biological counter-measures, which means that the use of chemicals against pests is very limited. They were the first in Hungary to introduce the EUREPGAP quality assurance system in 2004. Their warehousing facilities are also HACCP certified. Their paprika has been using the Kiváló Magyar Élelmiszer trademark since 2004 and they received the Magyar Termék Nagydíj in 2007 for their fresh paprika. In 2008, the cooperative was awarded the Magyar Agrárgazdasági Minőség Díj. KISTÉR-TÉSZ is one of the smaller cooperatives with only 80 members but KERTUNIÓ Társulás which also belongs to the cooperative has 300 members. They also have another 680 suppliers, and their total production is 28,000 tonnes of fruits and vegetables per year. One of their main objectives is to focus on products which are traditionally produced in the region and which can be competitive in the EU market. They intend to reduce their assortment gradually to 10-12 products, which can be supplied in sufficient quantity and quality. Potato, paprika and cabbage already account for most of their turnover. They have been using the EURAPGAP system for over three years. They also use a wide range of marketing tools in order to get their products listed by the major retail chains. KERT-UNIÓ Társulás also has a brand of its own: Pannovit.