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Hempel, Lukas and Hallin Johansson, Jessica, 2022. Restaurant wholesalers’ role and participation in a local food network : A comparative case study of two Swedish restaurant wholesalers. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Economics



The implications of globalisation of food systems have led to a reconciliation of local food systems in modern times. As the local food systems have started to increase, it can still be seen that the conventional food supply chain is dominating the market. This is derived from the fact that local food systems are often inefficient due to the individualistic nature of the smaller, less complex local food collaborations. Presented solutions to break the inefficiency trend and harvest the benefits of local food systems is to use the efficient restaurant wholesale actor as a "trade vehicle". This, combined with local food networks that unite small-scale farmers and increase the product pool to ensure quantity while adding value to an otherwise homogeneous product by the concept of "local". This could potentially result in more local collaborations and thereby increase local food on the market.
By conducting two semi-structured interviews with two of Sweden's largest restaurant wholesalers and analysing the results with conventional content analysis, this study aims to generate more knowledge about the role and participation of restaurant wholesalers in a local food system. Therefore, a comparative case study was conducted to identify the studied cases' differences, similarities, and contrasts. Furthermore, this is achieved through a theoretical perspective involving supply chain and value chain theory, which is developed into a theoretical synthesis based on Chopra & Meindls (2013) theory of finding the strategic fit.
This study found that the collaboration between a restaurant wholesaler and local food networks is highly uncertain, whereas the conventional food supply chain is predictable. But also that there are differences in how responsive/efficient the studied restaurant wholesalers act within the same business environment. Finally, it was found that the restaurant wholesaler and local food networks do not directly have a strategic fit.
The research questions are discussed to fulfil the study's aim, which leads to the conclusions of the restaurant wholesalers' role and participation in a local food system. The significant findings are that the role of the studied restaurant wholesaler is not to meet customer niche needs but to create value through efficiency by operational activities related to distribution, logistics, and coordination among the involved supply chain actors. However, the wholesalers also exhibit responsiveness towards their customer preferences for local food in alternative ways even if it does not suit their business strategy. The results show that one wholesaler meets these customer preferences by conducting business that does not contribute to adding value and is therefore inefficient. In comparison, the other wholesaler participates in a complex network of other more specialised wholesalers that focus on meeting customer preferences.

Main title:Restaurant wholesalers’ role and participation in a local food network
Subtitle:A comparative case study of two Swedish restaurant wholesalers
Authors:Hempel, Lukas and Hallin Johansson, Jessica
Supervisor:Ferguson, Richard
Examiner:Hakelius, Karin
Series:Examensarbete / SLU, Institutionen för ekonomi
Volume/Sequential designation:1430
Year of Publication:2022
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NY008 Agronomprogrammet ekonomi 300 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Economics
Keywords:Local food network, Local food system, Restaurant wholesaler, Strategic fit, Supply chain, Value chain
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Agricultural economics and policies
Consumer economics
Deposited On:02 Sep 2022 07:47
Metadata Last Modified:03 Sep 2022 01:03

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