Next Article in Journal
Efficient Digital Signage-Based Online Store Layout: An Experimental Study
Next Article in Special Issue
A Comparative Analysis of the Social Performance of Global and Local Berry Supply Chains
Previous Article in Journal
Highly Reflective Roofing Sheets Installed on a School Building to Mitigate the Urban Heat Island Effect in Osaka
Previous Article in Special Issue
Are Local Food Chains More Sustainable than Global Food Chains? Considerations for Assessment
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2016, 8(6), 515;

The Complexity of Food Systems: Defining Relevant Attributes and Indicators for the Evaluation of Food Supply Chains in Spain

Departament d’Economia i d’Història Economica, Facultat d’Economia i Empresa, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Office B3-112, Building B, Campus UAB, Bellaterra 08193, Spain
Institut de Ciència i Tecnologia Ambientals (ICTA), Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Campus UAB, Bellaterra 08193, Spain
Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC), Av. Carl Friedrich Gauss, 5, Castelldefels 08060, Spain
Facultat de Ciències i Tecnologia, Universitat de Vic - Universitat Central de Catalunya, Barcelona 08500, Spain
Institució Catalana de Recerca i Estudis Avançats (ICREA), Passeig Lluís Companys, 23, Barcelona 08010, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Gianluca Brunori
Received: 15 January 2016 / Revised: 18 May 2016 / Accepted: 19 May 2016 / Published: 27 May 2016
Full-Text   |   PDF [1016 KB, uploaded 27 May 2016]   |  


The wide-ranging literature on food systems provides multiple perspectives and world views. Various stakeholders define food and food systems in non-equivalent ways. The perception of the performance of food systems is determined by these specific perspectives, and a wide variety of policies responding to different aims are proposed and implemented accordingly. This paper sets out to demonstrate that the pre-analytical adoption of different narratives about the food system leads to non-equivalent assessments of the performance of food supply chains. In order to do so, we (i) identify a set of relevant narratives on food supply chains in Spanish and Catalan contexts; (ii) identify the pertinent attributes needed to describe and represent food supply chains within the different perspectives or narratives; and (iii) carry out an integrated assessment of three organic tomato supply chains from the different perspectives. In doing so, the paper proposes an analysis of narratives to enable the analyst to characterize the performance of food supply chains from different perspectives and to identify the expected trade-offs of integrated assessment, associating them with the legitimate-but-contrasting views found among the social actors involved. View Full-Text
Keywords: food systems; food supply chains; narratives; integrated assessment food systems; food supply chains; narratives; integrated assessment

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Gamboa, G.; Kovacic, Z.; Di Masso, M.; Mingorría, S.; Gomiero, T.; Rivera-Ferré, M.; Giampietro, M. The Complexity of Food Systems: Defining Relevant Attributes and Indicators for the Evaluation of Food Supply Chains in Spain. Sustainability 2016, 8, 515.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top