The key agents involved in marketing temperate zone tree fruit are packers, processors, storage houses, shippers, marketers, promotional agencies, transportation companies, brokers, wholesalers, exporters, importers, retailers, and restaurants. Other entities such as banks, insurance companies, information providers, government inspection services, etc., help facilitate marketing but are not normally considered part of the marketing effort. The names of the agents are relatively self-explanatory but, in specific cases, may provide only limited information on what an agent actually does. Terms such as "shipper" or "marketer" are often used interchangeably. Many agents have integrated operations, for example, combining producing and packing or wholesaling and retailing. Brokers may act on behalf of buyers only or sellers only or exclusively for a few larger firms. Retailers may be direct importers for their own account. In practice, it is important to check what the agent actually does.
In most temperate zone tree fruit, regional or national promotional agencies play a pivotal role in the marketing of the product. Funds for promotion are collected from producers, packers, exporters, or government sources and entrusted to entities such as the Washington Apple Commission (apples) or the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association (multiple fruit). These entities coordinate activities such as sales representation, merchandising, promotion, or category management. They collaborate with the marketers, exporters, or importers who handle the actual product transactions. They provide a flow of information back to the producer on how market needs are changing and how the marketing system is adapting to those changes.
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