Motivations and barriers for engagement in short food supply chains: insights from european focus groups

Camille Aouinait, Danilo Christen, Christoph Carlen, Louise Mehauden, Patricia Mora, Bob Massar, Mark Frederiks


The purpose of the study was to identify the motivations and the barriers that stakeholders face regarding Short Food Supply Chains (SFSC). Two focus groups with stakeholders of the agricultural sector and SFSC were conducted in the Netherlands and Switzerland. A first fundamental topic addressed by participants was the one related to the definition of SFSC, which is far from consensual,"short" being often associated and sometimes confused with local, direct, small, fair, ecological, fresh, healthy, etc. However, a series of positive and negative factors influencing SFSC development, and the involvement of agri-food stakeholders were identified. On the one hand, the unique relationship built through direct contact between producers and consumers, the fair distribution of value added in the chain that producers can find in engaging in SFSC, the increasing number of SFSC initiatives, the farm resilience, and territorial strategies that are being developed seem to be the most positive aspects, that can explain the trends moving towards these types of distribution channel.

On the other hand, many hindering factors were also identified, such as weak communication and marketing capacity of producers, and a lack of efficiency and cooperation between peers. The fierce competition of conventional distribution, using green washing, together with a profusion of labels, price issues, and unsuitable standards were mentioned as the main threats faced by SFSC actors.


Collaboration; communication; mass market competition; Motivations; short food supply chains; sustainability

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