Regional Assessment of Current Status of Short Food Supply Chains

The Short Food Supply Chain (SFSC) is characterised by offering a closer contact between consumer and producer, which can partly create security with the consumer and partly open a channel for dialogue about values, expectations and needs.

Consumers’ shopping patterns are changing faster than ever. Developments are influenced by many factors and trends, including changes in supply and demand, food price developments, intensified price competition and changes in consumer needs and behaviour. New technological opportunities – especially digitalisation – open up for new business models. Value-based and conscious consumption as well as individual health and nutritional needs are strong trends. It opens for responsibly produced, traceable high-quality products.

Regarding consumers, the experience in the majority of the 12 Beacon Regions of the agroBRIDGES project is that they are willing to pay more for fresh, healthy and preferably locally produced goods. They focus on climate-friendly consumption and therefore short transport can be a significant factor. Honesty, transparency, and credible narratives are also important trends in the food market, supporting the need for more direct contact between producer and consumer.

The farmers’ incentive to work in SFSCs is often a desire to get higher prices for their products. Especially in those Beacon Regions where the economic crisis has been most significant, it has often been a matter of survival for the farm. Short food supply chains can promote the sustainability of agricultural production and create environmental, economic and social benefits in a rural area.

There are regional differences in the 12 Beacon Regions in terms of which drivers support the development of SFSCs, but for the most part we have identified:

  1. Increased awareness about nutrition, health, freshness, and climate friendly production / purchase.
  2. Increased income of the population and willingness to pay more.
  3. Decline of the quality of retail chain products due to price competition.
  4. Possibility to purchase a niche product.
  5. Personal relationship with the farmer (farmer’s representative).

There is great potential for further development of SFSCs in the 12 Beacon Regions. They still play a minor role in the overall economy, but as the models in many cases both meet a demand from consumers and allow for increased revenues for the farmer, we will probably see a growth in the sector. However, it can be difficult for the farmer to produce, market and sell their own products due to lack of resources and in some cases also insufficient skills to reach the final consumer.

Example of a factsheet on current status of SFSCs in Andalusia (Spain)

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