Problem of perishability Opinions remain divided as to how far the fruit and vegetable industry will adapt to internet trading. As the industry goes global, several delegates to the annual conference of the Fresh Produce Consortium believe perishability would be a key factor preventing fruit and vegetables being traded like motor cars or books. Another factor is the way the UK multiples control 80% of sales and arrange their programmes months ahead before crops have even been planted or ripened. But Professor Lachotzki of Nijenrode University in the Netherlands believes the web could nevertheless have benefits for the industry. As suppliers, distributors and retailers become more integrated, Lachotzki said he foresaw a time when consumers could talk on the net to multiple suppliers about produce before they made a purchase. "They already want to know about how it is grown," he said. {{FRESH PRODUCE }}