Responsible Partner: SIFO – OsloMet (HIOA)
G. Vittersø, H. Torjusen, K. M. Laitala, F. Arfini, B. Biasini, E. Coppola, P. Csillag, M. Donati, M. Duboys de Labarre, R. Gentili, M. Gorton, J. L. Lecoeur, A. Lucini, A. Maj, E. Majewski, A. Malak-Rawlikowska, M. C. Mancini, D. Menozzi, B. Tocco, Á. Török, M. Veneziani
Date of Publication: October 2018

This report focuses on the organisational development of Short Food Supply Chains (SFSC) in Europe. It aims at understanding the motivations, attitudes and practices for actors to participate in these alternative food networks as well as identifying the enabling and constraining factors for further development of SFSCs. It is the result of the collaborative work conducted within Task 7.1, within Work Package 7, of the Strength2Food project.

Short Food Supply Chains form an important part of rural development in Europe. They are connected to traditional ways of food provisioning and represent the future development of the “sharing economy” where more socially and locally embedded production and consumption practices evolve. Their growth and potential is often discussed in relation to new developments of social media and within information and communication technologies (ICT).

These historic and future trends form the backdrop of the research undertaken in this WP, involving 12 selected cases in six European countries: France, Hungary, Italy, Norway, Poland and the UK. Previous studies have pointed to several positive factors for producers, retailers and consumers from participating in SFSCs. From the producer perspective, the economic benefits from direct sales with price premiums on products are often highlighted, but also the greater autonomy and better utilization of the resources available on the farm. From producer/retailers’ point of view, strong motivations are related to the face-to-face interaction with consumers which add new dimensions to their work and development of products and the agricultural activity itself. The face-to-face relations are also viewed as the most important motivations seen from the consumers’ side. Especially the way in which SFSCs provide greater transparency regarding how the food is produced, increases consumers’ trust. The sociability aspects of farmers’ markets, speciality shops and other alternative food initiatives are also highly valued by consumers, retailers, market managers and producers alike.

This report aims at answering the following three research questions:

  • What are the main motivations for participating in SFSC initiatives among producers, retailers/managers and consumers?
  • What are the perceived drivers and barriers for the development of the studied SFSCs?
  • What are important experiences that may be shared and transferred across different types of SFSCs?

The cases covered different types of initiatives including more traditional town- and farmers’ markets, speciality shops (fish and cheese) and more innovative initiatives (consumer co-operatives, solidarity groups and box schemes). The report also contains experiences from the national network of Farmers’ markets in Italy, Campagna Amica, run by Coldiretti, which is a stakeholder partner in Strength2Food.

Click here to see the full report

Results of this work are now available in the open access journal of Sustainability.