page 1
page 2
page 3
page 4
page 5
page 6
page 7
page 8
page 9
page 10
page 11
page 12
page 13
page 14
page 15
page 16
page 17
page 18
page 19
page 20
page 21
page 22
page 23
page 24
page 25
page 26
page 27
page 28
page 29
page 30
page 31
page 32
page 33
page 34
page 35
page 36
page 37
page 38
page 39
page 40
page 41
page 42
page 43
page 44
page 45
page 46
page 47
page 48
page 49
page 50
page 51
page 52
page 53
page 54
page 55
page 56
page 57
page 58
page 59
page 60
page 61
page 62
page 63
page 64
page 65
page 66
page 67
page 68
page 69
page 70
page 71
page 72
page 73
page 74
page 75
page 76
page 77
page 78
page 79
page 80
page 81
page 82
page 83
page 84
page 85
page 86
page 87
page 88
page 89
page 90
page 91
page 92
page 93
page 94
page 95
page 96
page 97
page 98
page 99
page 100
page 101
page 102
page 103
page 104
page 105
page 106
page 107
page 108
page 109
page 110
page 111
page 112
page 113
page 114
page 115
page 116
page 117
page 118
page 119
page 120
page 121
page 122
page 123
page 124
page 125
page 126
page 127
page 128

106 www. bus- ex. com September / October 09 It's a very good alternative to air conditioning." The company is also meticulous in calculating consumer purchasing trends and advising its franchisees on what they should be buying. While its stores are managed on a weekly basis, the sales figures are collected and processed daily, so that over the period of a week any wastage or change in buying trends becomes visible. " We can then address the issue before it becomes a cancer," he says. Where inevitable wastage does occur, FVC has developed a community-oriented method for dealing with it. The food goes to the homeless and to orphans, through a charity, Food Bank SA, which collects the food directly from the stores. This hugely successful format has attracted considerable attention from abroad, all of it from individuals or companies who wish to operate the brand under franchise. The company currently has five outlets up and running in Namibia; there is a store planned for war- torn Angola; and there will be one opening very shortly in Zimbabwe, where food shortages are now reaching a critical level. Meanwhile, a Food Lovers Market is operating in Australia; there are two stores opening in Mauritius and RĂ©union, with two more planned in Botswana; and there is considerable interest in the brand from Europe. Although the company has experienced rapid growth, it prides itself on retaining the family touch. " Many big corporations lose the personal touch and become bureaucratic. But with our company, the managing director is effectively a phone call away from everybody. And we survive and thrive by listening to the customer. Those who are too corporate- focused can't listen to the customer." For FVC, building a good relationship with the customer is of ultimate importance, and this is drilled into every member of the company. " Everyone today is looking to be treated in a special way, to feel that they are more than just a number. Yet the world is opportunistic; people aim to make as much cash as they can and then move on. But that behaviour is not going to ensure any kind of loyalty- what we want to do is encourage people to try our products, with the hope of converting them and then retaining them. So we encourage our franchisees to build relationships with the consumer, and make a smaller short- term profit in order to gain a long- term customer." The fresh produce market, around which FVC is structured, is perhaps one of the earliest commercial entities known to man. " The market is a micro- economy in its own right, and is essentially a micro- aspect of capitalism and the free market system. But globally, these markets are now under pressure," Liebenberg says. " Many farmers would rather do business with us because of the way we do business and the way we treat them"

are starved of produce and the livelihood of many smaller traders is threatened. In South Africa, FVC is now the largest buyer of fresh produce from the markets, and is determined to continue purchasing in this way, delivering cost reductions to its customers through better buying, better handling and distribution of fresh produce and improved marketing strategies. " But I do think governments worldwide are going to have to improve the fresh produce markets because so many people and so many informal traders depend on them," Liebenberg says. Fruit and Veg City has shown it has a winning format which continues to spur phenomenal growth. But could it ultimately challenge the stranglehold that the likes of Wal- Mart, Tesco and Asda have on the consumer and on the farming community? Time alone will tell, but if the success of the past 16 years is anything to go by, the company may well be able to give them a run for their money. - Editorial research by Don Campbell The trend now is for retail giants to bypass the markets and secure their supply directly from the farmers. This makes economic sense for the retailers but it can be dangerous. The giants can act almost as a monopoly, pushing prices down to such an extent it becomes hardly viable to farm the land. Farmers tie all their produce to one single customer, which makes them vulnerable; meanwhile, the markets Fruit and Veg City September / October 09 www. bus- ex. com 107 We are proud to claim that our technical knowledge, safety standards and service quality are far beyond that of the average contractor. This is why we are a preferred supplier to most of the brands in the fuel industry. This led us to be appointed as electrical contractors at the four pilot sites of Freshstop at Caltex in the Western Cape. Southern Star Electrical