Evaluating sustainability in the UK fast food supply chain: Dimensions, Awareness and Practice

Alireza Shokri, David Oglethorpe, Farhad Nabhani

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    33 Citations (Scopus)
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    Purpose - This paper investigates the level of concern and practice of sustainable management in the fast food supply chain in the North of England, targeting a business population with cultural, social and economic diversity. Methodology – A questionnaire using Likert Scoring recorded variations in current practice and attitudes towards sustainable business. A two-stage Cluster Analysis was conducted to analyse the multi-attribute ordinal data obtained from the questionnaire. Findings - Significant differences were found among clusters of Fast food businesses in terms of their sustainability concern and practice, which is of interest to policy makers, consumers and supply chain partners. Medium-sized fast food dealers emerge with high environmental and social concern, but poor practice; larger retailers and fast food chains appear to have both fair social and environmental awareness and practice; and there is a cluster of small takeaway-specific outlets that have particularly low levels of knowledge of sustainability or sustainable practices. Market failure is prevalent amongst these businesses and without regulation this represents a possible threat to the sector. Research limitations – Reliance on stated rather than revealed preferences and the regional focus of the study may limit the implications of this analysis but it is a major step forward in understanding what has in the past been a very difficult sector to investigate due to data paucity. Practical implications - Fast food is a sector with a lack of transparency which has attracted little academic attention to date, due to the difficulties of empirical analysis rather than lack of interest in a key food consumption sector. The message for the sector is to monitor its act, across all business types or face regulatory and policy intervention. Originality - The research conducts a three-dimensional sustainability analysis of fast food supply chains to investigate the differences and trade-offs between different sustainability dimensions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1224-1244
    JournalJournal of Manufacturing Technology Management
    Issue number8
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

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