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GREENER: Success factors for the establishment and expansion of local food supply chains

A solution to obtaining sustainable food systems can be found in the increased use of local food supply chains. This project will investigate the factors influencing the establishment and expansion of local food supply chains in a Swedish context.

Background

The food industry is facing considerable sustainability challenges. Production should increase to provide a stable food supply for an increasing population, while the environmental impact of food systems should decrease. The current global and resource-intensive food systems are incapable to deliver sustainable food products. Furthermore, the COVID19 pandemic and war in Ukraine have demonstrated other challenges in the global food systems where large disruptions in the supply chain can lead to shortages of food in countries that don’t have their own production. It is important to increase the degree of self-sufficiency, which is 50% in Sweden, in a sustainable manner.

A solution to obtaining sustainable food systems can be found in the increased use of local food supply chains, where producers and consumers have direct or closest possible relationships. By developing local food supply chains, urban and rural areas are reconnected, employment at local producers can increase, and communities are revitalized by increasing social cohesion as well as strengthening local cultures and identities. Consumers need to obtain more knowledge about the conditions and costs of local agriculture for producers to receive a realistic income, as well as ethical recognition and appreciation for their work and products.

The potential to increase Swedish food production is high, especially connected to local food supply chains. Consumers are becoming more aware of sustainable alternatives and desire closer relationships with producers. To meet the market’s demand and change to sustainable development, more local food chains are needed and those that already exist should be expanded. The fact that this is not happening, despite high demand, signals that there are challenges linked to this that should be studied more thoroughly.

Purpose and research questions

The purpose of this project is to investigate success factors for the establishment and expansion of local food supply chains in a Swedish context, for different actors. The research questions that this project focuses on include:

  • What are the benefits of local food chains, what stakeholders are a part of these chains and which roles do they have?
  • What are the drivers, barriers, and enablers for the establishment and expansion of local food chains?
  • How can different stakeholders work together to successfully establish and expand local food chains?

Procedure

The project uses an interactive research method that involves joint efforts between researchers and practitioners to answer the research questions. The project includes two senior researchers representing two different research environments (University of Gävle and Jönköping University) and two doctoral students. The project furthermore includes practitioners from various actors (e.g., farmers, processors, distributors, and retailers) in selected local food chains as well as six representatives from the Gävleborg Region, the Swedish Farmers' Association, the Gävleborg County Administrative Board, Matvärden and Lantmännen who are part of the project's steering group.

Expected contribution

The expected result is a framework of factors that affect the establishment and expansion of local food chains, as well as guidelines for how entrepreneurs in local food chains should relate to these factors for competitiveness and growth. The knowledge can be used by entrepreneurs (e.g., farmers, processors, distributors and retailers) who are facing the establishment or expansion of local food chains and improve the conditions for successful entrepreneurship based in the countryside.

Facts

Full project name: GREENER: Success factors for the establishment and expansion of local food chains.

Participating organizations: University of Gävle (HiG), Region Gävleborg, Lantbrukarnas Riksförbund, Länsstyrelsen, föreningen Matvärden and Lantmännen.

Project manager: Per Hilletofth (HiG)

Other project participants: Marije Renkema Singh (HiG), and Ola Eriksson (HiG)

Financer: The Kamprad Family Foundation

Time period: 2023-01-01 to 2025-12-31

Contact

Per Hilletofth

Professor Industrial engineering and management
E-mail: per.hilletofth@hig.se
Phone: + 46 073 654 60 96

Published by: Catarina Carlsson Page responsible: Gunilla Mårtensson Updated: 2022-06-08
Högskolan i Gävle
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