Sustainable supply chain design in the food system with dietary considerations: A multi-objective analysis

S.U.K. Rohmer*, J.C. van Lemmen-Gerdessen, G.D.H. Claassen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


Food is a vital component of everyday life, however current consumption and production patterns pose a threat to the environment and the food security of future generations. Thus, with environmental burdens becoming more apparent and rising societal awareness, it is time to reconsider dietary choices and the food system behind it. This paper presents a novel application of a network design problem, addressing sustainability issues in the context of the global food system. Taking into account several echelons and interlinkages between different food supply chains, the paper broadens the scope of the considered network and incorporates sourcing, processing and transportation decisions within a common framework. While minimising different environmental and economic objectives, the model aims to maintain a sufficient dietary intake level. Consumption decisions are incorporated in the model through different types of consumer demands. The problem is formulated based on linear programming and further analysis is carried out by applying the ϵ-constraint method and compromise programming. Investigating alternative production and consumption scenarios as well as trade-offs between the conflicting objectives, the study is illustrated based on a nutritional case study and underpinned by real-life LCA data. The findings of this research are manifold, highlighting the importance of considering consumption and production decisions in an integrated and global setting. Moreover, the choice of sustainability indicator plays a crucial role given the often conflicting nature of different sustainability aspects.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1149-1164
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Early online date7 Sep 2018
Publication statusPublished - 16 Mar 2019


  • Food chain
  • Multi-objective optimisation
  • Network design
  • OR in environment and climate change
  • Supply chain management


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