Food supply in a network context - an alternative framing and managerial consequences in efforts to prevent food waste
Journal article, 2016

Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to present a "network" framing of food supply arrangements. Such frameworks have been asked for in previous research as supplements to prevailing supply chain conceptualizations. Design/methodology/approach - The framework builds on industrial network theory. According to this approach, business reality is analyzed in three inter-related dimensions: the activities undertaken, the resources used for this undertaking, and the actors controlling resources and activities. For each dimension, relevant concepts are derived for analysis of the features of food supply and food waste. Findings - The network framing was useful for analyzing the prerequisites and consequences for two approaches to reduce food waste: one based on extension of shelf-life, the other relying on enhanced responsiveness in the supply arrangement. The framework was then used for suggesting managerial actions to reduce food waste through increasing activity coordination, resource combining, and actor interaction with consideration of potential consequences of such actions. Practical implications - Managerial issues in food supply are discussed with regard to the role of activity coordination, the role of resource combining, and the role of actor interaction in efforts to prevent food waste. Originality/value - The paper suggests a novel approach for analyzing food supply networks with particular focus on food waste reduction. Such framings are applied in other supply systems, and requested by food supply researchers.

Industrial networks



Food waste

Food supply



Pegah Amani

SIK – the Swedish Institute for Food and Biotechnology

Lars-Erik Gadde

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Supply and Operations Management

British Food Journal

0007-070X (ISSN)

Vol. 118 6 1407-1421

Areas of Advance


Subject Categories

Economics and Business



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