We explore the strategic role of private quality standards in food supply chains. Considering two symmetric retailers that are exclusively supplied by a finite number of producers and endogenizing the suppliers' delivery choice, we show that there exist two asymmetric equilibria in the retailers' quality requirements. Our results reveal that the retailers use private quality standards to improve their bargaining position in the intermediate goods market. This is associated with inefficiencies in the upstream production, which can be mitigated by enforcing a minimum quality standard.
private quality standards vertical relations buyer power food supply chain