... In sustaining such a high level of imports, British importers are showing the capacity to overcome serious logistical barriers. It is important to verify if they are using concepts of quality in their commercial activities (Carvalho, 2003). After analysing the EU legislation on fresh fruit trade, Malins and Woodhead (1996) concluded that the fruit importers tend to persuade their suppliers to adopt an active use of quality management in their operations. ...
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Fruit is a highly perishable product, suitable to biological, physical and chemical hazards. All these risks are higher when fruit are transacted in international trade. In this case fruit suppliers and fruit buyers are exposed to elevated transaction costs, since both sides need to deal with questions like product specifications, post-harvest processing and logistics. Quality management can be employed in order to organize all production, processing and logistics operations. In this paper the aim was to verify if producers, exporters and importers of fruit are making use of quality management concepts in order to reduce risks and transaction costs. As investigation method, a survey was conducted in Brazil and UK. Semi-structured interviews were also employed. The results of the survey support the idea that quality consciousness is fundamental in the fruit trade. The majority of companies approached in the research were shown not to perceive as a problem, the several parameters that affect the quality of the final product. In other words, the results suggest that firms that are incapable of handling quality issues satisfactorily find little place in the fruit trade. Quality management concepts are vastly employed in order to guarantee product specifications and rationality in the operation processes and by doing so, it contributes to reduce transactions costs between the trading parties.