Perspectives of food supply chain traceability

Henrik Ringsberg, Gunilla Jönson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingPaper in conference proceedingpeer-review


Purpose of this paper
Several different perspectives exist on the importance of food supply chain traceability and why it is scientifically investigated. These include the assessment of food security and quality preservation, economic, logistic, supply chain management, and information technical. Because of this, the concept of food supply chain traceability is defined in many different ways, depending on the scientific area of the research perspective used for investigation. This makes the concept and the scientific value of food supply chain traceability sometimes hard to understand theoretically. Thus, it is of great importance to position the concept theoretically and in relation to other scientific research areas. The purpose of this paper is to examine how food supply chain traceability can be theoretically positioned in academic supply chain research.

The paper is based on a literature review of definitions and perspectives of food supply traceability, and of the concepts and definitions used within the paradigm thinking found in relevant scientific articles and books.

The results show that food supply chain traceability is pre-paradigm research and further suggests that it should be treated as a “physical representational space” in scientific theory. The results also verify that food supply chain traceability is a complex research field, which is studied by using several perspectives in different research areas, especially logistics. It is important to clarify the perspective that has been applied when making suggestions concerning logistics development.

Research limitations/implications: The literature review only includes definitions and methods for positioning food supply chain traceability from a scientific theoretical perspective. The study excludes the concepts “track and trace”, “internal traceability” and “external traceability”, which are used in food supply chain management.

Practical implications:
The results of this paper are useful for practitioners as well as researchers since it addresses and aims to explain the concept of food supply chain traceability from a scientific perspective. This should influence future supply chain traceability setups.

What is original/value of paper:
The paper provides an extended understanding of food supply chain traceability in relation to scientific theory in a new unique way that can influence future research in and development of the area, particularly concerning societal perspectives.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWCTR 2010 Conference Proceedings
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventWorld conference in transport research - Lisbon
Duration: 2010 Jul 112010 Jul 15


ConferenceWorld conference in transport research

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Other Mechanical Engineering

Free keywords

  • Food supply chain traceability
  • scientific theory
  • Packaging logistics
  • literature study


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