Defining alternative food networks: A systematic literature review.

Michel-Villarreal, Rosario, Hingley, Martin and Bregoli, Ilenia (2018) Defining alternative food networks: A systematic literature review. In: International Food Marketing Research Symposium, June 2018, University of Bournemouth, UK.

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Over the past two decades, extensive research effort has been directed towards examining food initiatives that “somehow” differ from the ‘traditional’ or ‘conventional’. Such newly emerging food initiatives are known as ‘Alternative food networks’ (AFNs) and have been linked to broader concepts such as locality, quality, spatiality, embeddedness, sustainability and short food supply chains (SFSC). Farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture, box schemes, cooperatives, farm shops and other initiatives have been grouped under the AFNs umbrella. However, the literature has recognised that there is a lack of clarity with regards to the concept of AFNs (Hernández, 2009; Wilson, 2013), suggesting that it is indiscriminately used to describe systems that involve anything that the conventional does not. Thus, AFNs tend to be defined by what they are not, instead of what they actually are (Feenstra, 1997). Furthermore, the need to further examine the “alternativeness” of AFNs and the unique characteristics of such initiatives has been identified (Maye and Kirwan, 2010). Thus, the aim of this paper is to contribute towards reducing this knowledge gap through a systematic literature review on AFNs. A systematic literature review can serve as a means to advancing knowledge and facilitating theory and empirical development (Fisch and Block, 2018). In this paper, we will aim to provide some clarification of the concept of AFNs by conducting thematic analysis of the academic definitions given to AFNs in the existing literature.

Keywords:Sustainability, food supply chain
Subjects:N Business and Administrative studies > N200 Management studies
Divisions:Lincoln International Business School
ID Code:33102
Deposited On:13 Sep 2018 12:35

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