New UK-India project investigates impact of food processing on supply chain sustainability

The Centre for International Manufacturing has secured a new UK-India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI) grant for a research project titled: ‘Exploring impact of food processing on the sustainability of food supply chains – a UK-India bilateral analysis’.

The project will be conducted in collaboration with ABV-Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management (ABV-IIITM), Gwalior, India.

The aim of this project is to build a collaborative platform to investigate major challenges related to the UK and Indian food processing industries, such as weak linkages between farm producers and food processors, increasing mismatch between supply and demand, food quality, sustainability and impact of climate change. The research would create a unique body of knowledge for global food processing industries, particularly in the contexts of the UK and India.

The project is timely as India is emerging as a sourcing hub of processed food for countries across the globe, including the UK which now imports as much as 49.8 per cent of food. However, while there is a global need for food processing firms to reduce the environmental footprint of food products, and reduce pressure on natural resources and habitats, the impact of food processing on the sustainability of food supply chain is not being sufficiently explored.

The research builds on the skills and expertise of this bi-lateral team: the UK team, composed of IfM experts Professor Sir Mike Gregory, Dr Jag Srai, Dr Yongjiang Shi and Dr Mukesh Kumar, has multifaceted expertise of industrial systems, value chains and value networks across industries. The Indian team from ABV-IIITM Gwalior, which includes Prof S.G. Deshmukh, Dr Gyan Prakash and two other researchers, brings skills in the area of information technology, empirical modelling and supply chain management.

The project kicked off at the beginning of the year and will end in March 2016. Initial findings will be published and presented in a conference track at the Annual Cambridge International Manufacturing Symposium in September 2015.