Transparency in complex dynamic food supply chains

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155 Citations (Scopus)


Food supply chains are increasingly complex and dynamic due to (i) increasing product proliferation to serve ever diversifying and globalising markets as a form of mass customisation with resulting global flows of raw materials, ingredients and products, and (ii) the need to satisfy changing and variable consumer and governmental demands with respect to food safety, animal welfare, and environmental impact. Transparency in the food supply chain is essential to guarantee food quality and provenance to all users of food and food products. Intensified information exchange and integrated information systems involving all chain actors are needed to achieve transparency with respect to a multitude of food properties. In this paper, specific challenges of food supply chains are highlighted. Major elements are addressed that support transparency to consumers, the government and food companies, which are considered the claimants of transparency. Elements considered to be enablers of transparency are governance mechanisms, quality and safety standards and information exchange. The paper specifies these transparency claimants and enablers for food supply chains and identifies major information system functions and information technology applications needed to comply with transparency demands. It thereby provides a framework for transparency analysis in food supply chains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-65
JournalAdvanced Engineering informatics
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • quality
  • challenges
  • management
  • framework
  • networks
  • business
  • demand
  • safety
  • traceability
  • improvement

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