1. Events
  2. 2020
  3. January
  4. Looking under the radar: Why understanding food supply chains is so vital for redesigning the food system




Looking under the radar: Why understanding food supply chains is so vital for redesigning the food system




Speaker: Professor Lisa Jack (Portsmouth Business School, University of Portsmouth)

Food supply chains are a core component of modern food systems. While on the surface such chains involve a straightforward process of getting food from farm to fork, these chains deeply embed practices involved in day-to-day transactions which operate under the radar. Understanding these practices – which operate in food supply chains around the world - is vital because their impact is to fix food systems into patterns that are very difficult to change. They thus have major implications for our ability to transform food systems.

Most of these deeply embedded, day-to-day practices are legal and go unquestioned, such as discounts and commercial income. Just occasionally, they stray over the line into fraud, and then come to light. Underneath all of them is the attitude that retailers and consumers want prices that come from hard trading - but the service and quality that come from long term relationships.

In this talk, Professor Jack will examine some of these practices and attitudes, and ask what it would take to fundamentally transform a food system. She will show that the answer lies in questioning a peculiar feature of the industry maintained by these practices: on the one side, very narrow margins for profit and error; on the other, very wide margins for waste, shelf-life and choice, reflecting where power and inequality lie in the system. To achieve a fair and sustainable system providing affordable and nutritious food for all, Professor Jack will argue that we need to think about systems that re-balance marginal thinking and transform the system from the middle outwards.

This talk will be followed by a Q&A session, and will be chaired by Professor Corinna Hawkes.

Share this event

When and where

6.00pm - 7.30pmWednesday 22nd January 2020

BG02 University Building City, University of London Northampton Square London EC1V 0HB United Kingdom