Special Issue "Food Supply Chain through Ongoing Evolution: Lessons from Continuous Transformations"

A special issue of Logistics (ISSN 2305-6290).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 5 November 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Karim Marini Thomé
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil
Interests: food supply chains; performativity; new organizational forms
Prof. Dr. Michael Bourlakis
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Research for Cranfield School of Management, Centre of Logistics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedford MK43 0AL, UK
Interests: food supply chain management; retail supply chain management; sustainability in supply chains; IT/E-business and supply chain management
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Patricia Guarnieri
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
University of Brasília, Brasília, Brazil
Interests: reverse logistics; sustainability; food supply chain

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Since scholars and practitioners started to systematize knowledge about the sequence of activities to make food available, it has been possible to notice two main aspects: the first one is the focus on relationships and the other is the ongoing shaping due to continuous transformations, such as the need to make the transition to a more sustainable business model, and to develop the necessary resilience to face crises, such as the one we are facing today with the COVID-19 pandemic that has disrupted food production and consumption systems worldwide.

The focus on relationships was quickly accepted (van der Vorst et al., 1998) with agri-food enterprises developing close relationships in the supply chain (Ziggers and Trienekens, 1999) and looking for more effective forms of coordinating flows, inside and outside the enterprise (Aramyan et al., 2007). Therefore, relationship strategies (e.g., cooperation, coordination and collaboration) in food supply chains can generate positive effects such as better access to markets, improved quality, better access to resources, reduction of risks and development of resilience, and sustainable gains in social, environmental, and economic dimensions (Santos and Guarnieri, 2020; Thomé et al., 2021; Zaridis, Vlachos and Bourlakis, 2020).

Subsequently, food supply chains are under constant evolution due to these continuous transformations. Likewise, other elements drive these transformations, including traceability (Kelepouris, Pramatari, and Doukidis, 2007; Galvez, Mejuto, and Simal-Gandara, 2015), food safety and health (Raspor, 2008; Spence and Bourlakis, 2009), local/community development (Marsden, Banks, and Bristow, 2000; Berti and Mulligan, 2016), retail role and power (Newell, Ellegaard, and Esbjerg, 2019; Fulponi, 2006), socioenvironmental practices (Santos and Guarnieri, 2020; Bradley, Parry, and O’Regan, 2020); food waste (Papargyropoulou et al., 2014; Göbel et al. 2015), and, recently, food supply chain disruptions such as the COVID-19 pandemic (Hobbs, 2020; Singh et al., 2020).

Through this backdrop of continuous transformations of food supply chains, the purpose of this Special Issue of Logistics is to foment and suggest ways to understand the mechanisms of change and adaptation that have already occurred in food supply chains that help us to deal with future transformations.

One important starting point for this effort is a recognition of the heterogeneity of food supply chain arrangements (Thomé et al., 2021), in terms of actors, resources, types of relationships, and objectives (Le Velly and Moraine, 2020), which reveal plural forms of food supply chain evolution. Therefore, this Special Issue is willing to include articles that explain food supply chain transformations through different conceptual frameworks, agri-food areas and contexts, as well as levels of analysis. In line with this goal, we encourage original contributions presenting empirical, theoretical, and literature review approaches to the food supply chain, including but not limited to the following topics:

  • Characterization of stages of food supply chain transformations;
  • Emphasis on actors’ behavior that engage in shaping further food supply chains;
  • Presentation of novel conceptualizations of food supply chain transformations;
  • Combination of elements of food supply chain transformations emphasizing convergence and divergence points that shaped food supply chains;
  • The development of resilience in food supply chains to avoid disruptions and future crises;
  • Consideration of various theories, such as institutional theory, stakeholder theory, resource-based view, transaction costs economics, etc. aiming to explain the ongoing evolution and transformation;
  • Illustration of different relationship strategies and their impact on food supply chain transformation;
  • Explanation of how actors can drive food supply chain transformations, emphasizing key issues such as resources, power, etc. which explain leadership in transformational situations.

All manuscripts should be submitted at: 4 August 2021


Aramyan, L. H., Lansink, A. G. O., Van Der Vorst, J. G., & Van Kooten, O. (2007). Performance measurement in agri‐food supply chains: a case study. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal. 12(4), 304-315.

Berti, G., & Mulligan, C. (2016). Competitiveness of small farms and innovative food supply chains: The role of food hubs in creating sustainable regional and local food systems. Sustainability, 8(7), 616.

Bradley, P., Parry, G., & O’Regan, N. (2020). A framework to explore the functioning and sustainability of business models. Sustainable Production and Consumption, 21, 57-77.

Eksoz, C., Mansouri, S. A., Bourlakis, M., & Önkal, D. (2019). Judgmental adjustments through supply integration for strategic partnerships in food chains. Omega, 87, 20-33.

Fulponi, L. (2006). Private voluntary standards in the food system: The perspective of major food retailers in OECD countries. Food Policy, 31(1), 1-13.

Galvez, J. F., Mejuto, J. C., & Simal-Gandara, J. (2018). Future challenges on the use of blockchain for food traceability analysis. TrAC Trends in Analytical Chemistry, 107, 222-232.

Göbel, C., Langen, N., Blumenthal, A., Teitscheid, P., & Ritter, G. (2015). Cutting food waste through cooperation along the food supply chain. Sustainability, 7(2), 1429-1445.

Hobbs, J. E. (2020). Food supply chains during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Canadian Journal of Agricultural Economics, 68, 171-176.

Kelepouris, T., Pramatari, K., & Doukidis, G. (2007). RFID‐enabled traceability in the food supply chain. Industrial Management & Data Systems, 107(2), 183-200.

Le Velly, R., & Moraine, M. (2020). Agencing an innovative territorial trade scheme between crop and livestock farming: The contributions of the sociology of market agencements to alternative agri-food network analysis. Agriculture and Human Values, Forthcoming, 1-14.

Marsden, T., Banks, J., & Bristow, G. (2000). Food supply chain approaches: exploring their role in rural development. Sociologia Ruralis, 40(4), 424-438.

Newell, W. J., Ellegaard, C., & Esbjerg, L. (2019). The effects of goodwill and competence trust on strategic information sharing in buyer–supplier relationships. Journal of Business & Industrial Marketing, 34(2), 389-400.

Papargyropoulou, E., Lozano, R., Steinberger, J. K., Wright, N., & bin Ujang, Z. (2014). The food waste hierarchy as a framework for the management of food surplus and food waste. Journal of Cleaner Production, 76, 106-115.

Raspor, P. (2008). Total food chain safety: how good practices can contribute?. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 19(8), 405-412.

Santos, R. R., & Guarnieri, P. (2020). Social gains for artisanal agroindustrial producers induced by cooperation and collaboration in agri-food supply chain. Social Responsibility Journal.

Singh, S., Kumar, R., Panchal, R., & Tiwari, M. K. (2020). Impact of COVID-19 on logistics systems and disruptions in food supply chain. International Journal of Production Research, Forthcoming, 1-16.

Spence, L., & Bourlakis, M. (2009). The evolution from corporate social responsibility to supply chain responsibility: the case of Waitrose. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 14(4),291-302.

Thomé, K. M., Cappellesso, G., Ramos, E. L. A., & de Lima Duarte, S. C. (2021). Food Supply Chains and Short Food Supply Chains: Coexistence conceptual framework. Journal of Cleaner Production, 278, 123207.

van der Vorst, J. G., Beulens, A. J., De Wit, W., & van Beek, P. (1998). Supply chain management in food chains: Improving performance by reducing uncertainty. International Transactions in Operational Research, 5(6), 487-499.

Zaridis, A., Vlachos, I., & Bourlakis, M. (2020). SMEs strategy and scale constraints impact on agri-food supply chain collaboration and firm performance. Production Planning & Control, Forthcoming, 1-13.

Ziggers, G. W., & Trienekens, J. (1999). Quality assurance in food and agribusiness supply chains: Developing successful partnerships. International Journal of Production Economics, 60, 271-279.

Dr. Karim Marini Thomé
Prof. Dr. Michael Bourlakis
Prof. Dr. Patricia Guarnieri
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Logistics is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • food supply transformation
  • process change and change processes
  • food crises
  • disruption
  • alternative models
  • retail role
  • relationship strategies

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Transparency in Global Agribusiness: Transforming Brazil’s Soybean Supply Chain Based on Companies’ Accountability
Logistics 2021, 5(3), 58; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/logistics5030058 - 25 Aug 2021
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Background: Although agri-food supply chains have become fundamental for food security throughout the world, some are associated with negative environmental and socioeconomic impacts. This study explores the possibilities of transforming the governance in Brazil’s soybean supply chain based on stakeholders’ accountability. Methods: We [...] Read more.
Background: Although agri-food supply chains have become fundamental for food security throughout the world, some are associated with negative environmental and socioeconomic impacts. This study explores the possibilities of transforming the governance in Brazil’s soybean supply chain based on stakeholders’ accountability. Methods: We used secondary data from companies’ reports and statistical yearbooks to identify key stakeholders in the soybean supply chain as well as to explore trade-offs between reducing farming expansion into new agricultural frontiers and increasing investments in agro-industrial sectors. Results: The results reveal that at the global level, multinational corporations along with domestic groups should be held accountable for improving the governance of the soybean supply chain in Brazil since foreign multinationals control 65.4% of it. At the domestic level, losses in Brazil’s farming sector can either be offset by an 11% or 5.2% market share increase in the trading segment or in the whole supply chain, respectively, since Brazilian groups control 93.4% of the farming sector but only 7.1% of the agro-industrial sectors. Conclusions: Global accountability and domestic trade-offs are fundamental for transforming governance in global agri-food supply chains. They serve as a means for overcoming the current strategy of expansion into new farming frontiers. Full article
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