The mapping and analysis of supply chains is a technique increasingly used to address problems in the food system. Yet such supply chain management has not yet been applied as a means of encouraging healthier diets.
Today, more than two-thirds of adults and more than one-third of children in the United States are considered overweight or obese and rates continue to rise. Efforts to improve the food environment have thus far typically focused only on the consumer end of the food supply chain. This article develops a method that can be used to (1) identify innovative interventions throughout the food supply chain to create a healthier food environment, and (2) improve effectiveness of existing interventions by considering the dynamics of the food supply chain.
The authors develop a five-step method for conducting what is provisionally termed consumption-oriented food supply chain analysis and discuss potential applications, including a preliminary examination of the supply of Coca-Cola beverages into school vending machines.
The supply chain approaches taken to food issues thus far have typically focused on business management, the environment, labor and safety. The method developed here is focused on consumption. Ideally, all aspects of the food supply chain that affect human health and well-being should be considered as part of one system and in one analytical framework. Further discussion and debate are needed to merge the different approaches and create a new paradigm for the modern food system.