Despite policymakers’ promotion of food relocalization strategies for burden mitigation, the assumption that local food chains are more sustainable than the global ones might not hold. This literature review tries to highlight a possible framework for exploratory analyses that aim at associating sustainability with the geographical proximity of food supply chains. The purpose of the article is identifying a set of communicative and information-dense indicators for use by evaluators. Bread is the selected test food, given its importance in human nutrition and the relevance of some of its life cycle phases for land use (cereal farming) and trade (cereal commercialization). Article searching (including keyword selection, explicit inclusion/exclusion criteria, and computer-assisted screening using the NVivo®
software) was carried out over the Scopus, Web of Science, and Google Scholar databases, and returned 29 documents (refereed and non-refereed publications). The retrieved literature shows varied research focus, methods, and depth of analyses. The review highlighted 39 environmental, 36 economic, and 27 social indicators, along the food chain. Indicators’ reporting chains are heterogeneous; even the comparison of standard procedures, e.g., Life Cycle Assessment, is not straightforward. Holistic approaches are missing.
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