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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