The interplay between new innovations, sustainability and food supply chains

Guest editor(s)
Helen Rogers, Manoj Dora,

Guest editors:

Helen Rogers, Nuremberg Institute of Technology, Germany, [email protected]

Manoj Dora, Brunel University, UK, [email protected]


Current Food System:

Food is a common thread linking all 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and is critical to achieve the overall goals within the ambitious timeframe. However, our current food system is full of contradictions; up to one-third of food is wasted, 800 million people remain undernourished, 2 billion are deficient in micronutrients, while obesity is on the rise (Rust, et al, 2020). These figures are likely to worsen as the planet warms, soils degrade and the global population grows, urbanizes and consumes more. A lack of transport infrastructure, cold chain facilities, and poor supply chain management principles are some of the key challenges facing the agri-business in general and the food processing sector in particular (Krishnan et al., 2021). Taken together, these trends demonstrate there is an urgent need to improve our food system. The ongoing pandemic offers us an opportunity to look back, introspect and consider how we could reconfigure our current food systems all along the supply chain (encompassing how we produce, distribute and consume).


Food supply chains and their associated networks are complex, requiring coordination across multiple stakeholders, not only across countries but also across continents, to ensure full and timely arrival of products to the end customer (Braziotis, et al, 2013). Addressing food system-related challenges and trends, such as reducing loss and waste, improving the carbon footprint and enabling customised nutrition, is high on the agenda of many governments and organisations across the world (Rogers and Srivastava, 2021). Essentially, the imperative to improve sustainability across food supply chains has moved on from a ‘nice to have’ to a ‘must have’.


Recent food system innovations:

Industry 4.0 has enabled technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Drones, Blockchain, Internet-of-Things (IoT) and 3D Printing to improve our food systems and contribute to understanding and solving some of these challenges (Dora et al, 2021; Friedman and Ormiston, 2022).  Similarly, the circular economy concept is gaining traction both amongst academics and in practice, paving the way for significant and sustainable changes that will have a lasting positive effect on the food system (Dora et al, 2020). Furthermore, other technological innovations such as alternative protein, hydroponics, as well as GMOs are rapidly changing how we produce, distribute and consume food. Although studies exist that investigate food supply chains per se (e.g. Dani, 2019) and sustainable food supply chains (e.g. Accorsi and Manzini, 2019), few studies have specifically investigated the interplay between new innovations, sustainability and food supply chains.


Special Issue (SI) Focus:

This SI welcomes high-quality research contributions that investigate interdisciplinary challenges, technology developments, business models, use cases as well as theory development on new and emerging perspectives in the conceptualisation, management and strategic challenges associated with innovative and sustainable Food Supply Chains. Furthermore, the SI aims to extend understanding of how supply chains can become more sustainable through innovative tools, techniques, interdisciplinary strategies and decision-support frameworks by investigating topics such as:

  • Innovative supply chain frameworks and business models
  • Interdisciplinary challenges of food supply chains
  • Scaling up of emerging food technologies (3D food printing, lab-based meat, fermented foods, insect protein, non-thermal processing, active, reusable and recyclable packaging, etc.)
  • Use cases of innovative and sustainable supply food chains
  • Practical examples / in depth cases of post-Covid changes to food supply chains
  • Circular bioeconomy related issues – from linear to circular supply chains
  • The role of novel foods in the circular economy and the impact on business sustainability
  • Optimization of sustainable food-induced innovative operations
  • Co-creation of supply chain value through innovative technologies
  • Reconfiguration of distribution networks resulting from novel foods and packaging systems
  • Effect of emerging food tech on supply chain collaborative arrangements and partnerships
  • Risk assessment models in food supply chains
  • Data-driven decision-support systems for sustainable food supply chains
  • Sustainability, security, and resilience indicators for innovative food supply chains
  • Transparency, social innovation and consumer responsibility for innovative food systems
  • The impact of innovative food supply chains on infrastructure requirements and network design

We are looking for empirical papers and will not consider:-

  • Modelling or simulations
  • Literature reviews or systematic literature reviews
  • Descriptive papers of disruptions caused by Covid
  • Single case studies


Manuscript Submission:

In preparing and submitting your articles, please follow the author guidelines as specified on the SCMIJ journal website. All articles should be submitted in English. We advise that authors have their manuscripts professionally proofread prior to submission.


All papers should be submitted by 31 December 2022. Authors should ensure that the innovative food supply chains special issue option is selected. All appropriate papers will go through the normal journal review process.



Accorsi, R.; Manzini, R. (2019), Sustainable Food Supply Chains: Planning, Design, and Control through Interdisciplinary Methodologies; Academic Press, ISBN 978-0-12-813412-2.

Braziotis, C., Bourlakis, M., Rogers, H. and Tannock, J. (2013), “Supply Chains and Supply Networks: Distinctions and Overlaps”, Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, Vol. 18 No. 6, pp. 644 – 652,

Dani, S. (2019), Food supply chain management and logistics: From farm to fork. Kogan Page Publishers.

Dora, M., Biswas, S., Choudhury, S., Nayak, R. and Irani, Z. (2020) A system-wide interdisciplinary conceptual framework for food loss and waste mitigation strategies in the supply chain”. Industrial Marketing Management, 93. pp. 492 - 508. ISSN: 0019-8501

Dora, M., Kumar, A., Mangla, SK., Pant, A. and Kamal, MM. (2021) Critical Success Factors Influencing Artificial Intelligence Adoption in the Food Supply Chains”. International Journal of Production Research, 0 (in press). pp. 1 - 20. ISSN: 0020-7543

Friedman, N., Ormiston, J. (2022). “Blockchain as a sustainability-oriented innovation? Opportunities for and resistance to Blockchain technology as a driver of sustainability in global food supply chains”. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 175 (2022), 121403.

Krishnan, R., Yen, P., Agarwal, R., Arshinder, K., Bajada, C. (2021). “Collaborative innovation and sustainability in the food supply chain- evidence from farmer producer organisations”. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 168, 105253.

Rogers, H. and Srivastava, M. (2021) Emerging Sustainable Supply Chain Models for 3D Food Printing. Sustainability, 13(21), 12085,

Rust, N., Ridding, L., Ward, C., Clark, B., Kehoe, L., Dora, M., et al. (2020) “How to transition to reduced-meat diets that benefit people and the planet”. Science of The Total Environment, 718. pp. 1 - 6. ISSN: 0048-9697