Community Food Enterprises

Community Food Enterprises (CFEs) are the economic engines for growing, processing, selling, and serving local food.

Before globalization, CFEs dominated local markets but with globalization:

  • large-scale agribusiness displaced smaller farms
  • food processing moved to centralized manufacturers
  • chain supermarkets and restaurants displaced local grocers and diners

At first glance, we may feel that CFE’s have definite disadvantages compared to their much larger multinational nemesis:

  • larger fixed costs
  • less experienced managers
  • limited distribution networks
  • less effective marketing
  • poorer access to talent, capital, and technology

Yet CFEs have recently discovered that they actually have unique advantages over bigger companies:

  • deeper awareness of local tastes and markets
  • attain consumer feedback more quickly
  • tweak their business models rapidly
  • deliver goods and services faster
  • shorter distribution links
  • smaller inventories
  • rely more on word-of-mouth advertising that costs nothing