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Sustainability and quality in the food supply chain. A case study of shipment of edible oils

Riccardo Manzini (Department of Industrial Engineering, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, Bologna, Italy)
Riccardo Accorsi (Department of Industrial Engineering, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, Bologna, Italy)
Ziad Ayyad (Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, Bologna, Italy)
Alessandra Bendini (Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, and Interdepartmental Centre for Industrial Research in Agri-Food, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, Bologna, Italy)
Marco Bortolini (Department of Industrial Engineering, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, Bologna, Italy)
Mauro Gamberi (Department of Management and Engineering, Padua University, Padua, Italy)
Enrico Valli (Interdepartmental Centre for Industrial Research in Agri-Food, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, Cesena, Italy)
Tullia Gallina Toschi (Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, and Interdepartmental Centre for Industrial Research in Agri-Food, Alma Mater Studiorum – Bologna University, Bologna, Italy)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 25 November 2014

Abstract

Purpose

Modern supply chains collect and deliver products worldwide and link vendors and consumers over thousands of miles. In the food industry, the quality of products is affected by manufacturing/processing and logistics activities, such as transportation and packaging. Specifically, transportation is likely the most critical step throughout the “food journey” from farm to fork because of the potential stresses that affect the products during shipment and storage activities. The purpose of this paper is to present and apply an original assessment of quality, safety and environmental effects due to the international distribution of food products via different container solutions. A case study that examines the shipment of edible oils from Italy to Canada demonstrates that the quality of a product at the place of consumption can be significantly affected by the use of different containers.

Design/methodology/approach

A simulation-based quality assessment, combined with a life cycle and environmental analysis, supports the logistic manager in the decision-making process in order to guarantee the highest level of product quality at the place of consumption.

Findings

The proposed approach and the illustrated case study demonstrate the importance of conducting safety and quality assessment combined with environmental analyses of sustainable food supply chains.

Originality/value

This paper highlights the interdependency of implications and decisions on food quality and environmental sustainability of supply chain processes and activities.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to heartily thank the company Giorgio Gori S.r.l. significantly and fruitfully involved in this study. Especially in the name of Nino Caponi, Riccardo Pazzaglia and Alexander Braun, for their valuable inputs, their support and their willingness to cooperate in this research project about Giorgio Gori (www2.ggori.com/).

Citation

Manzini, R., Accorsi, R., Ayyad, Z., Bendini, A., Bortolini, M., Gamberi, M., Valli, E. and Gallina Toschi, T. (2014), "Sustainability and quality in the food supply chain. A case study of shipment of edible oils", British Food Journal, Vol. 116 No. 12, pp. 2069-2090. https://doi.org/10.1108/BFJ-11-2013-0338

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited