Short supply chains and hyper localism

One of twelve strategies developed in the Trust Study, with the goal of helping consumers eat more healthfully and sustainably.

The Trust Study

In collaboration with EIT Food, Future of Food Institute conducted a study to gain a deeper understanding about consumer attitudes towards the food chain, and particularly the role trust plays in that relationship.

One of the outcomes of this study is a set of twelve strategies, co-created together with European participants in the Citizen Participation Forum 2020. 

One of these strategies is Short supply chains and hyper localism.

What is Short supply chains and hyper localism?

We learned that many consumers believe that the fewer parties involved and the more locally food is produced, the less it can be tampered with. When consumers can see where the food is grown and processed, and they can get to know the people who work in the food chain, this will attribute greatly to their trust in the food chain. If you can look someone in the eye, you feel like you can be sure that this person will not do anything undesirable to their products.

Wouldn’t it be great if more food were available that is produced very close to home, with very few steps between the consumer and the farmer? This way, consumers can oversee and get to know all the steps in the production process.

What does Short supply chains and hyper localism look like?

Consumers have a strong association between sustainability and distance travelled. Eating locally and seasonally is a straightforward way to reduce the environmental footprint of food.

  • Food produced locally by small farmers and manufacturers
  • Fewer anonymous parties involved

Knowing where the food is produced will increase the interest in that food. It’s no longer viewed as an anonymously produced, replaceable item.

Consumers may be willing to pay a higher price for locally produced food, while the producers will receive a higer margin. This will in turn strenghten local communities.

What’s the catch?

For this strategy to work, the following points need to be taken into account:

Sustainability

Hyperlocalism should not come at the cost of sustainability, e.g. by growing crops that would not naturally thrive in the local environment.

Rising costs

The burden on the parties in the food chain shouldn’t be so high that it will lead to price increases.

What did community members say about this?

“Here in Belgium some farmers allow: you can pick your salad from the earth and pay it directly the farmer.”
Roberto, 61, Belgium

“Trying to bring the closeness between producer and seller as close as possible, creating a relationship of trust and direct verification, I believe, is the best way to guarantee the quality of the product and also greater responsibility for those who produce 😃”.
Chiara, 42, Italy

“COVID has certainly changed things. The amount of local products available in supermarkets where I live has risen considerably. It’s just a shame they double or triple the price compared to the same non local products.”
Kristian, 46, France

Best practices: who is already doing this?

Crowdfarming (Spain)

Crowdfarming is a Spanish initiative that connects consumers and producers all over Europe. Consumers order products directly from the farmer in advance. Crowdfarming wants to remove intermediaries from the food supply chain, and therefore simplify the sale of food. The farmer produces on demand, thus avoiding overproduction and waste.

ØsterGRO (Denmark)

A rooftop farm located in the centre of Copenhagen.

ØsterGro is organised as a community supported agriculture (CSA) and sells its produce to members and volunteers of its community. The produce is also used in their restaurant on site, which is an unique dining experience surrounded by green produce.

Our mission is to help accelerate the transition to a more sustainable food system, by including the consumer as equally relevant stakeholder.

We offer accessible and clear consumer insights that help all actors in the food chain to effectively support & seduce the consumer to make the sustainable food choice.

Laan van Meerdervoort 36 - 2517AL - Den Haag - The Netherlands - Info@futureoffood.institute