How social unrest started innovations in a food supply chain

Jan Buurma, Wil Hennen, Tim Verwaart*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Transitions leading to sociotechnical innovations in food supply chains have been described in dramaturgical analyses on the basis of newspaper articles and parliamentary records. The time scale of the transitions driven by aroused public opinion on issues such as animal welfare, is typically a decade. Actors are primary producers (farmers), other supply chain parties, authorities, NGOs voicing particular opinions, political parties, and consumers. In this article, their interactions and reactions to external events are modelled in an agent-based simulation based on opinion dynamics. The purposes of the simulation are (1) to validate that hypothetical relations derived from the dramaturgical analysis indeed lead to the emergence of the observed transitions, and (2) to study how the system could have developed under different behaviours or a different course of external events. Simulation results and a sensitivity analysis are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number8
JournalJournal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017



  • Content analysis
  • Dramaturgical analysis
  • Food supply chain
  • Opinion dynamics
  • Sociotechnical innovation

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