Information services for European pork chains - closing gaps in information architectures

R. Lehmann, J.E. Hermansen, M. Frits, D. Brinkman, J.H. Trienekens, G. Schiefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Several global developments (e.g. diminishing production resources, growing demand for bio-energy) and numerous sector-wide crises (e.g. BSE, swine fever, dioxin) have led to a changing attitude of society towards the consequences of the food systems activities for social, economic and environmental issues, captured in the term of sustainability. Consumers in their role as final customers, and as a consequence also enterprises within agri-food supply chains, show increasing interest in the characteristics of food, and in turn, on the availability of related information and guarantees. Enterprises in agri-food supply chains are facing new expectations and are seeking to communicate social, economic and environmental performance of their business to customers within their supply chain and to consumers. New solutions for determination and communication of sustainability are needed for the agri-food sector, covering single aspects of sustainability as well as sustainability in a broader sense, including social, economic and environmental issues. Integrated, computer-based information services, since they are mainly building on existing systems, provide flexible solutions for enterprises to measure and evaluate sustainability of products throughout agri-food supply chains. Gained information on product characteristics might be used for decision support within enterprises as well as for communication of sustainable practices to customers and consumers, resulting in increased competitiveness of enterprises, supply chains and the sector by satisfying customers’ and consumers’ demands for information on the sustainability of a product. The present paper introduces a framework for developing information services for European pork chains using the three selected information domains food safety (representing social sustainability), quality (representing economic sustainability) and global warming potential (representing environmental sustainability). Resulting information models give an aggregated overview on information availability and exchange in European pork chains, additional information demands of possible service users and deficiencies in the existing information infrastructures. The paper supports different stakeholders involved in agri-food production, such as service developers, enterprise decision makers and management consultants, in developing enterprise- and chain-specific solutions which meet customers’ and consumers’ demands by providing appropriate sustainability information and guarantees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-136
JournalComputers and Electronics in Agriculture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • supply chain
  • food-industry
  • sustainability
  • performance
  • challenges
  • management
  • safety

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