Purpose - This paper aims to bridge the concepts of innovation and performance and to develop a framework to assess innovation and performance in food chains. Design/methodology/approach - Based on an extensive literature search the paper identifies critical success factors (CSFs) and related indicators for innovation in food chains, on the one hand, and performance in food chains, on the other. Main CSF categories for innovation are: product, process, market and organization. Main CSF categories for performance are: efficiency, responsiveness, quality and flexibility. A chain process model is developed that enables one to identify main chain processes that impact on innovation and performance. A trade-off matrix is constructed in which effects of innovations on performance and vice versa in typical chain processes can be identified. Findings - This article reviewed available supply-chain innovation and performance indicators and models and methods used to assess performance and innovation within fruit supply chains. Based on the existing literature a conceptual framework for assessing innovation and performance of companies in the European fruit supply chain has been developed. The framework consists of a supply chain process model and an innovation-performance matrix which have been successfully applied to several cases along the apple chain in The Netherlands. Practical implications - The chain process model and matrix are applied in an integrated way to the Dutch fruit chain. An apple grower case and a fruit cooperative case are worked out. Managers in food chains can use the framework to assess their company's innovations and performances. Originality/value - The paper aims to bridge the concepts of innovation and performance. Literature and research on this subject are minimal.
- supply chain