Publications

  • Abstract

    Existing large-scale centralised food production practices are often unsustainable due to requirements for significant transportation of both raw materials and finished products. These approaches also require substantial concentrated demands on energy and water. In addition, increasing amounts of food waste are being generated worldwide by manufacturers and retailers due to their dependence on unreliable demand forecasting methods as part of centralised production practices. Regulatory pressures and policy requirements as well as consumer demands for increased variety, improved traceability, and healthy diets are forcing manufacturers and retailers to reconsider their ingredient sourcing, production, storage, and distribution strategies. “Distributed and Localised Manufacturing” (DLM) aims to provide the food sector with capabilities to improve the efficiency of production systems, to optimise logistics operations across supply chains, and to extend the shelf life of products. However, to achieve these potential benefits, the implementation of DLM will involve many challenges that need to be carefully considered and addressed. This article explores these challenges and describes four specific implementation models to aid with the development of innovative and appropriate DLM structures for various food products.

     

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/28445

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Pedro Gimenez-Escalante

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  • Abstract

    Purpose
    Resilience in agri-food supply chains (AFSCs) is an area of significant importance due to growing supply chain volatility. While the majority of research exploring supply chain resilience has originated from a supply chain management perspective, many other disciplines (such as environmental systems science and the social sciences) have also explored the topic. As complex social, economic and environmental constructs, the priority of resilience in AFSCs goes far beyond the company specific focus of supply chain management works and would conceivably benefit from including more diverse academic disciplines. However, this is hindered by inconsistencies in terminology and the conceptual components of resilience across different disciplines. The purpose of this study is to use a systematic literature review to identify which multidisciplinary aspects of resilience are applicable to AFSCs and to generate a novel AFSC resilience framework.
     
    Design/methodology/approach
    This paper uses a structured and multidisciplinary review of 137 articles in the resilience literature followed by critical analysis and synthesis of findings to generate new knowledge in the form of a novel AFSC resilience framework.
     
    Findings
    Findings indicate that the complexity of AFSCs and subsequent exposure to almost constant external interference means that disruptions cannot be seen as a one-off event; thus, resilience must concern the ability to not only maintain core function but also adapt to changing conditions.
     
    Practical implications
    A number of resilience elements can be used to enhance resilience, but their selection and implementation must be carefully matched to relevant phases of disruption and assessed on their broader supply chain impacts. In particular, the focus must be on overall impact on the ability of the supply chain as a whole to provide food security rather than to boost individual company performance.
     
    Originality/value
    The research novelty lies in the utilisation of wider understandings of resilience from various research fields to propose a rigorous and food-specific resilience framework with end consumer food security as its main focus.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Jamie Stone

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  • Abstract

    One of the most prominent challenges commonly acknowledged by modern manufacturing industries is ‘how to produce more with fewer resources?’ Nowhere is this more true than in the food sector due to the recent concerns regarding the long-term availability and security of food products. The unique attributes of food products such as the need for fresh perishable ingredients, health risks associated with inappropriate production environment, stringent storage and distributions requirements together with relatively short post-production shelf-life makes their preparation, production and supply considerably different to other manufactured goods. Furthermore, the impacts of climate change on our ability to produce food, the rapidly increasing global population, as well as changes in demand and dietary behaviours both within developed and developing countries urgently demands a need to change the way we grow, manufacture and consume our food products. This paper discusses a number of key research challenges facing modern food manufacturers, including improved productivity using fewer resources, valorisation of food waste, improving the resilience of food supply chains, localisation of food production, and utilisation of new sustainable sources of nutrition for provision of customised food products.

    Link to Loughborough University Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/24925

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García , Jamie Stone , Patrick Webb , Aicha Jellil , Sandeep Jagtap , Pedro Gimenez-Escalante

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  • Optimising Industrial Food Waste Management 2017, Procedia Manufacturing

    Abstract

    Global levels of food waste are attracting growing concern and require immediate action to mitigate their negative ecological and socio-economic ramifications. In the developed world, of the order of 20-40% of food waste is generated at the manufacturing stage of supply chains and is often managed in non-optimised ways leading to additional environmental impacts. This research describes a novel decision-support tool to enable food manufacturers to evaluate a range of waste management options and identify the most sustainable solution. A nine-stage qualitative evaluation tool is used in conjunction with a number of quantitative parameters to assess industrial food waste, which is then used to generate performance factors that enable the evaluation of economic, environmental and social implications of a range of food-waste management alternatives. The applicability of this process in a software-based decision-support tool is discussed in the context of two industrial case studies.

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/23785

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García

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  • Innovative Manufacturing Technologies for Redistributed Manufacturing 2016, Food, Energy and Water Local Nexus Network

    Abstract

    This report aims to provide an overview of food technologies that could support the
    wider adoption and application of Re-Distributed Manufacturing (RDM) in the food
    sector, and has been developed as part of a series of feasibility studies under the
    umbrella of the ‘Food, Energy and Water Local Nexus Network’ (LNN) for RDM. The
    technologies include both traditional food processing technologies that could be
    reconfigured to be used in smaller scale and also a number of new emerging food
    technologies that currently may have limited commercial applications, but could
    provide significant potential in the context of RDM. These technologies are assessed
    against fourteen specifically defined criteria in order to identify their benefits and
    drawbacks for future applications of RDM.
     
    One of the main findings of this study has been that RDM, as an innovative
    production structure, necessitates further research, innovation and development
    (RID) in order to enable successful applications by food businesses. These RID
    activities could be categorised under three areas of process level, product level and
    system level innovations. In this context, a number of key research questions
    regarding future development of food technologies for small scale production
    systems are presented. Based on these, the report also presents a number of
    specific research challenges that need to be addressed in order to develop a viable
    and sustainable approach to the production of food products on smaller scales
    (redistributed) and closer to the source of consumption (localised), whilst preserving
    the safety and maintaining the quality of manufactured food.
     
    Finally, one of the main conclusions of this study is that increasing productivity,
    improving resilience and reducing waste are important considerations upon which
    the future of the UK food sector must be founded, and distributed manufacturing of
    our food products will play a vital role in the achievement of these goals.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Pedro Gimenez-Escalante

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  • A manufacturing approach to reducing consumer food waste 2016, Advances in Manufacturing Technology XXX: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Manufacturing Research

    Abstract

    Globally, one third of food produced is wasted. In the UK, 47% of the food waste is post-consumer revealing a need to encourage more efficient consumption. This research asserts that manufacturers and retailers can play a crucial role in minimising consumer food waste (CFW) through consumer engagement and provision of smart solutions that ensure more efficient use of food products. Supporting manufacturers and retailers to minimise CFW can be achieved via two stages: a) understanding and evaluating CFW, and b) identifying improvements to manufacturing and retail activities that would reduce CFW. Onsite waste audits have identified that the percentage of edible CFW from domestic environments (77%) is greater than that disposed of in public areas (14%) supporting the hypothesis that improving the full food provisioning process (e.g. packaging, storage, guidance) would be beneficial. This paper proposes a number of mechanisms to support manufacturing and retail in reducing CFW.

    Link to Loughborough University Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/22780

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García , Aicha Jellil

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