The production process in food systems is a set of farm and field operations. It is currently under a scope of multiple discussions regarding its sustainability and long-term cost-efficiency. The food market is one of the industries that are severely affected by the growing need for sustainable methods and practices. Ericksen (2008) states that food systems significantly “contribute to global environmental change,” which is worsened by an ever-growing demand for this type of goods (p. 237). Clear prioritization of business processes can have a significant impact on the sustainable development of the food market sector. This essay discusses the importance of the production process in food systems from a position of a supply chain company.
The primary characteristic of the current production processes can be considered as their unsustainability. Food producers are exhausting natural resources at a growing rate due to the ever-increasing human population (United Nations Environment Programme, 2016). Despite the perceived positive effect on the cost-efficiency of the current production process, the present method will lead to a crisis in the future (Neven, 2014). A long-term perspective is a crucial point for consideration for a supply chain company.
The current state of the food supply chain reveals several crucial implications for the future development of the food sector. There is a growing demand for sustainable practices in the existing food systems (United Nations Environment Programme, 2016). According to the United Nations Environment Programme (2016), statistics show “the degradation of depletion of natural resources and provide evidence of unsustainable and/or inefficient practices at the global level” (p. 21). Due to this fact, the optimization of processes is a critical step in eradicating this issue.
These changes will have a significant impact on food supply chain companies. The value chain is a crucial concept in supply chains, and it currently undergoes a transformation process due to sustainability concerns raised by customers, producers, researchers, and governments alike (Neven, 2014). The production process must be redesigned in a new way, so it does not permanently exhaust natural resources while simultaneously adding a meaningful value for customers (Neven, 2014). Considering this fact, supply chain companies will need to restructure their operations to adopt environmentally friendly methods and practices.
The globalization process led to the increased availability of food and the establishment of complex food supply chains. However, it also opened a path for supermarketization trends and adverse dietary changes (United Nations Environment Programme, 2016). In turn, local food systems are often characterized by their sustainable production methods (Chase & Grubinger, 2014). Nonetheless, their number continues to decline with the growth of supermarket chains since the costs of local production are higher (Ericksen, 2008). The investment in local supply chains is one of the priorities for governments that aim to increase the sustainability of the food market in their country (United Nations Environment Programme, 2016). This change in the production process is a mandatory step in sustainable development on a global scale, therefore, it bears the utmost importance for the current food supply chain companies.
In conclusion, the optimization of the production process in food systems is a critical goal for all companies across the globe. The lack of concern for sustainability in food production will eventually lead to a major crisis that will affect all food supply chain companies. The government must work alongside the supply chain companies to incorporate sustainability in the value creation and competitiveness of the food market (Neven, 2014). They need to incentivize producers to invest in sustainable methods of production, as the current state of this process is proven to be unsustainable in the long term.
Chase, L., & Grubinger, V. (2014). Introduction to food systems. In L. Chase & V. Grubinger (Eds.), Food, farms and community: Exploring food systems. University Press of New England.
Ericksen, P. J. (2008). Conceptualizing food systems for global environmental change research. Global Environmental Change, 18(1), 234-245.
Neven, D. (2014). Developing sustainable food value chains. Guiding principles, FAO.
United Nations Environment Programme. (2016). Systems and natural resources. A report of the working group on food systems of the International Resource Panel chaired by M. Hajer.