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Food 4.0 for competing during the COVID-19 pandemic: experimenting digitalization in family firms

Domenica Barile (Department of Management, Finance and Technology, University LUM Giuseppe Degennaro, Casamassima, Italy)
Giustina Secundo (Department of Management, Finance and Technology, University LUM Giuseppe Degennaro, Casamassima, Italy)
Pasquale Del Vecchio (Department of Management, Finance and Technology, University LUM Giuseppe Degennaro, Casamassima, Italy)

European Journal of Innovation Management

ISSN: 1460-1060

Article publication date: 14 December 2022

58

Abstract

Purpose

Within food industry several changes and innovations are affecting the management of the entire supply chain (production, logistics, etc.). As strategy for the survival and competition, digitalization has assumed a crucial role during the pandemic emergence by causing the reconfiguration of traditional chains and business models. Framed in these premises, the research analyses how digital technologies have innovated the sub-chains of bakery products and pasta within food industry with reference to customers' interactions, delivery and marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic emergence.

Design/methodology/approach

Moving from a critical literature review about the perspectives of digital technologies within the tradition of food industry, action research has been adopted to analyze in deep a case study of the start-up “ArteBianca Delivery” located in South Italy. Through this method, researchers have been deeply involved within the start-up to face the challenge of transforming the marketing and customer care into digital ones due to the COVID-19 restriction.

Findings

Findings provide empirical evidence about the reconfiguration of the traditional business model of a family firm in the food sector into a digital one with the start-up “ArteBianca Delivery”. The marketing, delivery, e-commerce and customer care components of the business models have been supported and enhanced through the adoption of digital tools, such as mobile applications and social technologies useful both for users and for a more urgent digitization of company.

Practical implications

Implications for practice can be identified into the pattern of digital transformation implemented as well as in the opportunity of replication and contextualization of the results to other companies looking for setting up a digital strategy.

Originality/value

Elements of original contribution can be identified into: (1) the exploration of digital transformation in food family firms caused by the pandemic emergence, (2) the contextualization of the digital transformation to the sub-chains of bakery and pasta and (3) the geographical location of the case.

Keywords

Citation

Barile, D., Secundo, G. and Del Vecchio, P. (2022), "Food 4.0 for competing during the COVID-19 pandemic: experimenting digitalization in family firms", European Journal of Innovation Management, Vol. ahead-of-print No. ahead-of-print. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJIM-07-2022-0373

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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