Special Issue "Agri-Food Markets towards Sustainable Patterns: Trends, Drivers and Challenges"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Valeria Borsellino
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Ed. 4, 90128 PALERMO (PA), Italy
Interests: agricultural economics and policies; rural development; agri-food market; cooperation; consumer behavior; wine sustainability
Prof. Emanuele Schimmenti
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural, Food and Forest Sciences, Università degli Studi di Palermo, Viale delle Scienze, Ed. 4, 90128 PALERMO (PA), Italy
Interests: economic analysis of Mediterranean farms and agri-food markets; CAP and its implications; ICT and logistics of agri-food production; farming associationism; aquaculture; forestry and agri-environmental issues; land cadastre and land market; wine sustainability

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few decades agri-food markets have become increasingly complex due to changes in consumer demand (linked also to food safety and quality), technological advances, and transformation in the industrial structure along the value chain. Moreover, demographic development, urbanization, globalization, neolocalism, increased incomes, unbalanced world distribution of wealth, deforestation, land grabbing and climate change are leading to a progressive and unpredictable change in horizons.

The combination of these phenomena has triggered changes throughout the agri-food market, generating sometimes conflicting trends: for example, the organic market has changed from a niche to a large segment of consumption; the progressive deforestation in the world, in order to grow crops that provide food, fibres and energy, is of great concern for the consequent loss of biodiversity and climate change; the change in land use has accentuated the volatility of the prices of the main commodities. In the meantime, innovative solutions (new digital technologies, forms of collaboration between and in the different supply chains, alternative agri-food networks, etc.) with objectives of social, economic and environmental sustainability have been developed.

In the future, the agri-food market must focus on sustainable food supply, meeting the needs of a growing world population (markedly in Asia and Africa) and concentrated in cities. Moreover, in rich countries, consumption ranges from commodities to high-end products, depending on the level of consumers' wealth.

Given the unsustainable nature of current agri-food production, processing, distribution and consumption patterns, sustainability issues and challenges have become crucial to effectively manage an agri-food market that supports expected population growth and meets food demand and greener trends in an increasingly sustainable manner.

The range of suitable contributions for this special issue is wide: case studies, experiments and other forms of empirical evidence, as well as application of theoretical concepts. More specifically, we welcome manuscripts that help to outline sustainable horizons of the future agri-food market, dealing with:

  • “green” changes in consumer demand
  • sustainability and innovation along the agri-food chains (ecopreneurship; vertical integration and horizontal alliances; farming associationism)
  • efficiency and inclusiveness of sustainable agri-food systems (agri-ecology and organic farming; small producers; safeguard of the natural and cultural heritage; relationship between food, gastronomy and territory; neolocalism; alternative agri-food networks)
  • interaction between the agri-food market and agri-environmental policies
  • market regulation instruments (public policies and national and international governance; impact of specific free trade agreements and trade tariffs; food sovereignty and sovereignism)
  • tools to prevent risks which may jeopardise agri-food markets.

Prof. Valeria Borsellino
Prof. Emanuele Schimmenti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • supply and demand for sustainable production
  • consumer behavior
  • agri-food systems
  • enhancement of agri-food production
  • innovation
  • farming associationism
  • alternative agri-food networks
  • public policies

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Quality Decision-Making Behavior of Bodies Participating in the Agri-Foods E-Supply Chain
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1874; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051874 - 02 Mar 2020
Abstract
The quality of agri-foods in e-supply chains confronts more threats than that in the traditional agri-food supply chain. However, most of the existing studies focusing on the quality problems of fresh agri-products are mainly cases studies and statistical analyses, and they do not [...] Read more.
The quality of agri-foods in e-supply chains confronts more threats than that in the traditional agri-food supply chain. However, most of the existing studies focusing on the quality problems of fresh agri-products are mainly cases studies and statistical analyses, and they do not take into account the farmers’ willingness to comply with safe agri-food supply procedures. To solve the supply quality problems of fresh agri-foods and help participators make a better choice, the decision-making behavior on the supply quality of agri-foods in the e-supply chain was deeply studied in this paper using game theory. Some factors related to the decision behavior of the supply chain were analyzed, including the supervision intension of the government, the rights protection consciousness of consumers, and the intensity of punishment for poor-quality agri-foods. These factors have an important influence on the farmers’ willingness to provide high-quality products and e-business’ probability of inspection. Compared with three different decision models of agri-food e-supply chains, the results show that the decentralized decision model is better than the centralized model from the view of quality protection. The behavior of members of the supply chain is as follows: the farmers’ willingness to supply high-quality agri-foods increases with the increase in the consumers’ consciousness of their rights and the government’s supervision intensity. The “experience deviation” phenomenon also occurs when a new e-business makes a decision about its quality inspection behavior in this e-supply chain where the quality information is traceable. As such, e-business enterprises should reduce their quality inspection behavior based on the increase in the government’s supervision intensity. This happens to be opposite to the traditional experience where quality information is not traceable. This study not only extends the research framework of the novel electronic supply chain, but also provides a certain reference for the subsequent research and e-business practices of fresh produce in developing countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Motives, Barriers, and Expected Benefits of ISO 14001 in the Agri-Food Sector
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1724; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051724 - 25 Feb 2020
Abstract
Over time, sustainability has gained a greater presence in companies and with consumers around the world, although it can be said that there is still some confusion in its conceptualization and in the identification of the driving factors. A part of the literature [...] Read more.
Over time, sustainability has gained a greater presence in companies and with consumers around the world, although it can be said that there is still some confusion in its conceptualization and in the identification of the driving factors. A part of the literature considers that environmental management systems (EMS) such as ISO 14001 are facilitating factors that allow organizational remodeling towards more sustainable production. For a better understanding, this paper presents a qualitative study with semi-structured interviews to analyze the perceptions that managers, employees, and quality managers have about the concept of sustainability and, given that environmental management systems are considered as motivational factors, it also analyzes the perceptions they have about the motivations, barriers, and expected benefits of their adoption in the olive food industry in southern Spain. It is possible to point out the existence of some confusion about the concept of sustainability, and that both regulatory and market factors such as image and reputation improvement, differentiation, and sales increases, especially in exports, are considered to be motivational for their implementation. This work contributes to the literature on sustainability and environmental management systems in sectors of activity with high environmental involvement, such as the agri-food industry. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Agri-Food Markets towards Sustainable Patterns
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2193; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062193 - 12 Mar 2020
Abstract
In recent decades, the confluence of different global and domestic drivers has led to progressive and unpredictable changes in the functioning and structure of agri-food markets worldwide. Given the unsustainability of the current agri-food production, processing, distribution and consumption patterns, and the inadequate [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the confluence of different global and domestic drivers has led to progressive and unpredictable changes in the functioning and structure of agri-food markets worldwide. Given the unsustainability of the current agri-food production, processing, distribution and consumption patterns, and the inadequate governance of the whole food system, the transition to sustainable agriculture and food systems has become crucial to effectively manage a global agri-food market able in supporting expected population growth and ensuring universal access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food for all. Based on a critical review of the existing international literature, the paper seeks to understand the evolutionary paths of sustainability issues within agri-food markets by analyzing their drivers and trends. An extensive analysis was conducted highlighting the development and importance of the body of knowledge on the most important sustainability transition frameworks, focusing mainly on the relationship between markets, trade, food and nutrition security, and other emerging issues within agri-food markets. Finally, the study makes suggestions to extend the research in order to improve basic knowledge and to identify opportunities to design meaningful actions that can shape agri-food markets and foster their transition to sustainability. Full article
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