Sharon L. Forbes1, Suzanne Trafford2, Tim Craig3

1Associate Professor of Marketing Lincoln University Christchurch New Zealand

2Lecturer Lincoln University Christchurch New Zealand

3Analyst Rabobank New Zealand

Corresponding Author: Sharon Forbes



Society is increasingly putting pressure on producers to behave ethically and sustainably.  But, what is the role of retailers in this area?  The power of large supermarket retailers is growing at a global level and retailers are now operating as societal gatekeepers; the actions they are taking impact upon both producers and consumers.  This paper focuses on a single case study from New Zealand (the removal of caged eggs from supermarkets), to assess whether retailer actions are ethical, sustainable, and beneficial to producers and consumers.  Small food producers are particularly vulnerable; this paper concludes by recommending how producers could respond to retailer actions.


Sharon Forbes is an Associate Professor in Marketing at Lincoln University. Her academic qualifications are also from Lincoln University; in 2004 she completed a Bachelor of Viticulture & Oenology undergraduate degree, in 2005 a Commerce Honours degree, and in 2009 a PhD in Marketing. Sharon’s PhD examined the factors influencing the purchasing behaviour of wine consumers in New Zealand, Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. Sharon’s research is centred on business and consumer studies in the wine and food sectors. In particular, she has led or participated in national and global studies that have examined consumer behaviour, supply chain management, disaster resilience, social media marketing, brand name perceptions, philanthropy, and the production and marketing of ‘green’ or ‘environmentally sustainable’ products.

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The objective of the International Farm Management Association is to further the knowledge and understanding of farm business management and to exchange ideas and information about farm management theory and practice throughout the world. The IFMA is a non profit-making organisation and currently the Association has members in over 50 countries.

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Tourism Tasmania, Barnbougle Dunes, Ray Joyce, Health Holden, Graham Freeman, Joe Shemesh, Glenn Gibson, Hobart City Council, Nick Osborne, National Trust Tasmania, Dale Baldwin, Brian Dullaghan, Rob Burnett, Alistair Bett, Alice Bennett, Wai Nang Poon, Chris Crerar, Kathy Leahy, Flow Mountain Bike, Tasmanian Parks & Wildlife Service, James Bowden, Masaaki Aihara, Sean Feennessy, Bruce Irwin, Liz Knox