Purpose – This paper presents a novel analysis of the UK food supply chains (FSC) within selected food product categories to reveal the drivers and changing patterns of the UK FSC structures. It demonstrates how the dynamics of different food sectors are changing and how structural changes are affecting the activities of actors within the FSC – an area which is not significantly addressed in the academic literature. Design/methodology/approach – The study uses a sector mapping approach to analyse food product supply chains, associated industrial actors and institutional support players. Data sources include publicly available industrial reports, literature reviews and case studies involving semi‐structured interviews with key industrial players. The methodology involved an examination of relevant literature and government statistics to inform a set of “basic” maps detailing the structure of the UK FSC. Key actors were subsequently identified and interviewed and the data were combined with the “basic” maps to create a set of “current” maps of the structure of the UK FSC. A textual analysis of the data from interviews was then used to identify key trends and structural changes occurring within the UK FSC. These changes were used to inform a set of “future” UK FSC maps. Finally, the data from the interviews was analysed to identify key trends in UK FSC. Key findings – Use of a novel approach establishes the linkage between primary stakeholders, secondary stakeholders, supply‐chain processes, value chain activities and key industrial players in three product categories – dairy, fruit and vegetables and staples. Key findings include trends of consolidation of upstream actors, retailers moving into processing, Changing product architecture, demand for higher visibility and greater visibility driven by consumer demand for provenance. Originality/value – This paper brings together fragmented literature from multiple sources, government statistics and data from key actors in the UK FSC to form a picture of the structure of the UK FSC. Where before, literature on the structure of the UK FSC was fragmented and outdated, this paper contains an up‐to‐date model of the current structure of the UK FSC that has been validated in accordance with expert opinion. Furthermore, this paper shows how the dynamics of different food sectors are changing and how structural changes are affecting the activities of actors within the FSC.
Journal of Advances in Management Research – Emerald Publishing
Published: Aug 2, 2013
Keywords: UK food supply chains; Supply chain integration; Supply chain structure; Supply chain management; Food products