Top of the food chain: Product services in the food industry

Dixon, A. M. and Simon, M. (2001) Top of the food chain: Product services in the food industry. In: Sustainable Services Systems (3S): Transition towards sustainability? (Towards Sustainable Product Design 6), 29-30 October, 2001, De Rode Hoed, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

[thumbnail of Food&Products_final_short.doc] Text
Food&Products_final_short.doc - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (120kB)


This paper aims to describe the environmental impact of the food industry supply chain and explore the potential for new product-service systems in the food sector, which has not been subject to a great deal of eco-design research. Data from a cross-sector analysis of UK industry, concentrating on the sectors representing the food industry supply chain, is utilised. These sectors are agriculture, food processing, retailing, food services, and kitchen equipment. The analysis combines economic and environmental data from the UK Environmental Accounts with information on design activity in the sectors, focusing on life cycle impact - the labour, energy and materials used by sectors, their emissions and environmental expenditure. Product design is related to the consumption experience - the relationship between the consumer and the product.

It emerges that changes in food consumption patterns will shift the balance of environmental impact and affect the long-term sustainability of the sectors. For example, the use of kitchen appliances such as breadmaking machines and juicers shift processing into the home, amounting to a redistribution of energy use from industry to the home. Furthermore, these activities may increase consumption of food ingredients (leading to growth of the food industry) and may also impact upon diet and health. Future product-service mixes will require to an increase in the labour and a reduction in the (process) energy content of food products. Examples might include modular food products, food products that promote social eating, local production and consumption, organic agriculture, bought in domestic catering services and enhanced consumption experiences. Perceived conflicts between sustainability and product design and marketing can be seen as challenges to be tackled with creativity and initiative.

Publication Type: Conference or Workshop Items (Paper)
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
T Technology > T Technology (General)
Divisions: Academic Areas > Professional Services > Research Office
Event Title: Sustainable Services Systems (3S): Transition towards sustainability? (Towards Sustainable Product Design 6)
Event Location: De Rode Hoed, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Event Dates: 29-30 October, 2001
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Andy Dixon
Date Deposited: 21 Nov 2014 15:14
Last Modified: 29 Sep 2016 13:20

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item
▲ Top

Our address

I’m looking for