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Table 2 Sustainability attributes for the wheat to bread chain and assessment on difference and performance

From: Sustainability assessment of food supply chains: an application to local and global bread in Italy

Attribute Literature analysis Expert judgment
Critical aspect Academic literature on bread chains Differencesa Supply chain with best (expected) performance
Affordability Access to nutritious and healthy bread for low income families, or across cities and city areas or in developing countries Smith et al. 2013; Flynn et al. 2012; Olaoye et al. 2011; Mason et al. 2011; Lopez-Class and Hosler, 2010; Caraher et al. 2010; Duvenage and Schönfeldt, 2007 +++ Global bread is widely available and affordable in supermarkets, very often at promotion prices
Biodiversity Decrease in soft wheat genetic diversity Bonnin et al. 2014; Coda et al. 2014; Bonneuil et al. 2012; Dawson et al. 2012; Gallo et al. 2009; Falco et al. 2008 +++ The local organic farmer cultivates several ancient landraces and populations, while the global chain cannot use them due to supply shortage and instability, and technical characteristics
Evolution of bread wheat varieties in organic farming, Ancient varieties of wheat and sourdough fermentation.
Connection Role of social relationships in organic cereal networks. Embeddedness in conventional and alternative bread supply chains Milestad et al., 2010; Magnan, 2011; Penker, 2006 + Both local and regional chains are highly integrated. The local chain produces the main ingredient while the global chain strictly monitors suppliers
Identity preserved sourcing relationships between farmers and bakeries for quality
Consumer behavior Consumption in relation to health and nutritional information. Consumer behavior by vulnerable societal groups (pregnant women, children, poor) Hellyer et al. 2012; Barre et al., 2011; Freedman and Bartoli, 2013 +++ Local and global breads have very different consumption uses.
Economic and ecological efficiency Genetic progress in wheat yield in relation to nitrogen use. Khatir et al. 2013; Tsegaye, 2012; Ortiz-Monasterio et al. 1997 +++ Global chain’s scale of production allows economies of scale, also from an environmental point of view.
Improvements in baking ovens for better energy efficiency
Farmers income and value added received Role of farmers’ cooperatives for aggregation, increased yields, adaptation to scarcity and impact of subsidy policies, price transmission along the chain. Rumánková, 2014; Cacchiarelli et al. 2013; Bardsley and Bardsley, 2014; Jat et al. 2014; Schenk et al. 2014; Pan et al. 2014; Li and Rui, 2013; Kimura et al. 2010 ++ Local chain fixes price in relation to production costs, global chain refers to global market prices
Food security Increased wheat productivity, conservation of adaptable local landraces, political instability, impact of biofuel on food availability, sustainability. He et al. 2013; Özbek 2014; Mujeeb-Kazi et al. 2013; Ahmed et al. 2012; Sternberg 2012; Azapagic et al. 2010; Pimentel et al. 2009; + Food security is a transversal issue. The three chains can be interpreted according to different “food security frames” (Mooney and Scott, 2009)
Governance/even distribution of power Governance responses to socio ecological risk Bardsley and Bardsley, 2014; Barling et al. 2009 ++ Decision power is concentrated in both chains. The local chain is highly transparent, oriented to managing socio-ecological risks. The global chain is much more articulated: it aims at transparency in various ways, and addresses socio-ecological risks by working with wheat suppliers (currently more on durum wheat than on soft wheat).
Increased transparency in the chain.
Information and communication Effects of information on consumer preference (e.g. functional ingredients). Consumer perception of bread quality, organic vs conventional bread. Hellyer et al. 2012; Gellynck et al. 2009; Annett et al. 2008; Kihlberg et al. 2005; + Information and communication activity is very intense in the global chain, also on sustainability matters. Local chain relies on trust and conveys information directly.
Nutrition Impacts of ingredients, baking methods, and types of bread on health (salt reduction, wholegrain, variety of grains, fiber). Potential of sourdough fermentation and baking techniques to improve nutritional properties of bread. Antúnez et al. 2013; Talaei et al., 2013; Békés, 2012; Belz et al. 2012; Jones, 2011; Dewettinck et al. 2008; Katina et al. 2005; Yusufali et al., 2012; Ozola and Straumite, 2012 ++ Nutritional value is core in communication strategies of the local chain. The characteristics of raw materials is the most relevant aspect. Also the global chain’s strategy focuses on nutritional value. Here the focus is more on recipe adaptation.
Fortification of staple foods.
Consumer attitude towards gluten free products
Value of label design and nutritional labeling format on consumer attention.
Profitability for farmers, processors and retailers/Competitiveness Selection decisions on healthier foods by retailers in terms of profitability Ayala et al. 2012; Bonakele and Mncube, 2012; Tsegaye, 2012; Gracia et al. 2010; El-Lattief, 2011; Louw et al., 2013 Not available Not enough data to give a reasonable judgement
Competition enforcement in the wheat to bread sector to guarantee lower prices for consumers. Concentration in the milling and baking sectors as barriers to market entry
Resilience and local development Innovative governance responses to socio-ecological risk and roles of cooperatives; Benefits for production, resilience and conservation of biodiversity Bardsley and Bardsley 2014; Enjalbert et al. 2011 ++ Local chain has turned to ancient wheat varieties, organic agriculture and alternative food networks to differentiate and limit dependence from policy support. The global chain searches for integration with wheat suppliers to improve resilience and address socio-ecological risks.
Resource use and pollution Environmental impacts of bread production at different scales (industrial, artisanal, home), of different baking methods and other parameters: country of origin of wheat, production method, type of flour, type of packaging (plastic and paper bags), bread losses and waste Andersson, 2000; Andersson and Ohlsson 1999; Espinoza-Orias et al., 2011; Jury et al. 2011; Meisterling et al. 2009; Williams et al. 2010; Moudrý et al. 2013; Yadav and Marshall, 2011; Williams and Wikström 2011; Koskela et al., 2014; Ruini et al. 2013 ++ LCA studies available for the global bread show that resource use and pollution are lowest for this chain. The comparison based on emissions and energy use per kg. tend to advantage larger scale productions.
Responsibility Corporate social responsibility of processors and retailers. Subsidies and social/political stability Magnan, 2011; Forsman-Hugg et al. 2013; Salevurakis and Abdel-Haleim 2008 ++ Global chain provides a corporate social responsibility report annually. The local chain is also third party monitored for being organic, and “socially”-monitored by direct relationships.
Safety Food safety challenges of traditional foods and role of good manufacturing practices Lücke and Zangerl, 2014; Vidal et al., 2014; Cauvain, 2012; Sharma et al. 2005 + Safety must be guaranteed in all chains considered, with differing constraints depending on context.
Effects of sourdough fermentation on mycotoxins. Dissipation of pesticides during bread making
Technological innovation Genetic improvement of wheat cultivars, yield improvement; innovations in machinery for milling and bread processing; standardization of sourdough technology; innovation related to health, pleasure, and convenience Martínez-Monzó et al. 2013; Campbell et al. 2012; Skudra and Linina, 2011; Moroni et al. 2010; Sener et al. 2009; Clarke and Arendt, 2005; Rolfo et al. 1993. ++ Global chains has resources that allow continuous innovation. Local chain is very advanced related to its context and resources available (i.e. milling plant)
Territoriality Locally adapted bread varieties and ancient grains. Willingness to pay for locality and organic. Naspetti and Bodini, 2008; Pasqualone, 2013a +++ Local bread reflects a strong link to territory and traditions.
Traceability Ethical aspects of traceability and communication to the consumer Barling et al., 2009; Magnan, 2011; Pasqualone 2013b,c +++ Local chain is de facto traceable, accessible and transparent. The global chain aims at increasing transparency and direct contact to consumer.
Shift towards higher quality and identity preserved wheat (varietal traceability)
Waste Identification of bread waste determinants Vandermeersch et al., 2014; Fadda et al. 2014; Freedman and Bartoli 2013; Espinoza-Orias et al. 2011; Williams and Wikström 2011; Mohammadi, 2007; Rosing and Nielsen, 2004; Andersson and Ohlsson 1999 + Both chains show low levels of waste for different reasons. Both breads have a long shelf life: local bread can be re-used in typical recipes, global bread has a 40 days shelf life
Innovation to retard bread staling and role of packaging for preventing bread loss
Bread waste valorization options (and environmental impacts)
  1. aThe column “Differences” expresses high (+++), medium (++), low (+) differences between local and global bread chains