Digitizing Food Supply Chains: A Path to Ensuring Food Security

International Journal of Industrial Engineering and Operations Management (IJIEOM) Call For Papers

Special Issue: Digitizing Food Supply Chains: A Path to Ensuring Food Security

Covid-19 and the war in Ukraine have highlighted food security issues on a global scale. Prior to the onset of Covid-19, over 820 million people had been identified as chronically food insecure, with food insecurity classified as a crisis level for 135 million. These numbers were estimated to have doubled during the pandemic (WHO, 2020). It is estimated that almost 400 thousand bee families, 95 thousand heads of sheep and goats, 212 thousand heads of cattle, 507 thousand pigs, and almost 11.7 million heads of poultry have died in Ukraine since the start of the war (KSE, 2022). Furthermore, more than 14.3 thousand hectares of perennial crops have also been destroyed as a result of the war (KSE, 2022). The vulnerability of food supply chains to such shocks has caused food shortages in both developed and developing countries. These shocks come at a time when natural disasters, climate change, and the arrival of pests and plagues are already compromising food security.


Consumer behaviour has aggravated the difficulties faced by food supply chains in light of these shocks. Food inflation, price rise, panic buying, stockpiling, and hoarding, alongside the related food waste, indicate that all actors in food supply chains have a social responsibility to mitigate the impacts and prepare strategies to inform a response to similar shocks in the future (Sohag et al. 2021; Trollman et al., 2021). One strategy that may be adopted is the digitalization of the food supply chain. While consumers are rarely the main motivation for digitalization, they are among the most impacted by food insecurity. Until now, only some theorizing has taken place on how consumer contributions could be aggregated with the aid of digital technologies to mitigate shocks to commodity markets and inform supply chain actors (Trollman et al., 2023).


Similarly, sustainability or the ecological embeddedness of food supply chains are often secondary drivers to marketing strategies and cost savings when implementing digital technologies such as Blockchain (Trollman et al., 2022). An investigation into the effects on food supply chains from the war in Ukraine suggested sourcing alternative food raw materials and suppliers, supported by technological innovations, to ensure food safety and quality in warlike situations (Jagtap et al., 2022). Yet sustainable supply chains have not been fully explored in the literature. A recent review shows that firm-level studies dominate the area of sustainable supply chain management, lacking advanced economic modelling and studies on the macro-level (country- and region-levels) to explore new linkages (Khan et al., 2021). Resilience strategies for food supply chains are likewise underdeveloped, and there are calls in the literature for transformative change (Mollenkopf et al., 2020).


Despite some positive results seen in the implementation of digital technologies for individual supply chain actors, the full potential of advanced digital technologies (e.g., Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, the Internet of Things, Blockchain, and 3D printing) has yet to be fully realized. Harnessing Industry 4.0 technologies for the benefit of food supply chains has the potential to enable efficient digital and ecological transitions (Hassoun et al., 2022). Consequently, rigorous academic research is needed to investigate how the digitalization of food supply chains could positively impact food security, given the context of the increasing probability of global shocks to food systems.


The objective of this Special Issue of the International Journal of Industrial Engineering and Operations Management is to invite academics and practitioners to contribute to a better understanding of the implementation of digital technologies in food supply chains to address food security. Food security requires the consideration of the sustainability and resilience of food supply chains in a holistic manner, extending to considerations at the macro level in support of transformative change. In this context, novel applications of digital technologies arrived at by rethinking current approaches to food shocks are critical to their successful deployment. Practical as well as theoretical, novel, and original contributions investigating the digitalization of supply chains addressing the following non-exhaustive themes are sought:

  • Digital Technologies for Enhancing Food Supply Chain Efficiency
  • Blockchain Applications for Ensuring Food Traceability and Authenticity
  • IoT and Sensing Technologies for Real-time Monitoring of Food Supply Chains
  • Data Analytics for Predictive Demand Forecasting and Supply Chain Optimization
  • Digital Platforms and E-commerce Solutions for Expanding Food Access in Vulnerable Communities
  • Assessing the Social and Environmental Impacts of Digitalization in Food Supply Chains
  • Assessing the Economic Viability of Implementing Digital Technologies in Food Supply Chains
  • Enhancing Resilience and Adaptability of Food Supply Chains through Digital Technologies
  • Policy and Regulatory Frameworks for Supporting Digitalization in Food Supply Chains
  • Socio-cultural and Behavioural Aspects of Consumer Acceptance and Adoption of Digital Technologies in Food Supply Chains
  • Other similar themes

Manuscript preparation and submission

Before submission, authors should carefully read over the journal's "Submission Guidelines". The review process will follow the journal's practice. Prospective authors should submit an electronic copy of their complete manuscript via the manuscript submission, according to the following timetable:

List of Important Dates

Manuscript Submission Deadline: 29 February 2024

Notification of First Decision:  22 April 2024

Revised Version Submission: 15 July

Final Decision: September 2024

Expected Publication: First Half of 2025

For further enquiries, please contact any of the Special Issue guest editors.


Special Issue Guest Editors

Sandeep Jagtap (Managing Guest Editor)

Cranfield University, UK

Email: [email protected]

Hana Trollman

University of Leicester

Email: [email protected] 

Elliot Woolley

Loughborough University

Email: [email protected]



Hassoun, A., Boukid, F., Pasqualone, A., Bryant, C. J., Garcia-Garica, G., Parra-López, C., Jagtap, S., Trollman, H., Cropotova, J., Barba, F. J. (2022). Emerging trends in the agri-food sector: Digitalisation and shift to plant-based diets.CURRENT RESEARCH IN FOOD SCIENCE, 5, 2261 – 2269. doi: 10.1016/j.crfs.2022.11.010

Jagtap, S., Trollman, H., Trollman, F., Garcia-Garcia, G., Parra-López, C., Duong, L., Martindale, W., Munekata, P.E.S., Lorenzo, J.M., Hdaifeh, A., Hassoun, A., Salonitis, K., & Afy-Shararah, M. (2022). The Russia-Ukraine Conflict: Its Implications for the Global Food Supply Chains. FOODS, 11(14), 2098. doi:10.3390/foods11142098

Khan, S. A. R., Yu, Z., Golpira, H., Sharif, A., Mardani, A. (2021). A state-of-the-art review and meta-analysis on sustainable supply chain management: Future research directions. JOURNAL OF CLEANER PRODUCTION, 278, 123357. doi: 10.1016/j.jclepro.2020.123357

KSE (2022), “Agricultural War Damages Review Ukraine”, available at: https://kse.ua/wp-content/uploads/2022/11/Damages_report_issue2-1.pdf (Accessed on 21 May 2023).

Mollenkopf, D.A., Ozanne, L.K., Stolze, H.J. (2020). A transformative supply chain response to COVID-19. JOURNAL OF SERVICE MANAGEMENT, 32(2), 190-202. Doi: 10.1108/JOSM-05-2020-0143

Sohag, K., Islam, M.M., Tomas Žiković, I. and Mansour, H., 2022. Food inflation and geopolitical risks: analyzing European regions amid the Russia-Ukraine war. British Food Journal.  doi: 10.1108/BFJ-09-2022-0793

Trollman, H., Garcia-Garcia, G., Jagtap, S., & Trollman F. (2022). Blockchain for Ecologically Embedded Coffee Supply Chains. LOGISTICS, 6(3), 43. doi:10.3390/logistics6030043

Trollman, H., Jagtap, S., Garcia-Garcia, G., Harastani, R., Colwill, J., & Trollman, F. (2021). COVID-19 demand-induced scarcity effects on nutrition and environment: investigating mitigation strategies for eggs and wheat flour in the United Kingdom. SUSTAINABLE PRODUCTION AND CONSUMPTION, 27, 1255-1272. doi:10.1016/j.spc.2021.03.001

Trollman, H., Jagtap, S., Trollman, F. (2023). Crowdsourcing food security: introducing food choice derivatives for sustainability. FOOD SECURITY. doi: 10.1007/s12571-023-01363-7

WHO (2020), “Policy Brief: The Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security and Nutrition”, available at: https://unsdg.un.org/resources/policy-brief-impact-covid-19-food-security-and-nutrition (Accessed on 21 May 2023).