Calls for papers


International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development
International Journal of Innovation and Regional Development


Special Issue on: "Innovation in the Food Chain: Strategies, Tactics and Practices"

Guest Editors: Dr Michael Bourlakis, Brunel University, UK
Dr Aristides Matopoulos, International Faculty of the University of Sheffield, Greece

Innovation has become a central topic in the business agenda of companies, and in many cases it has been recognised as the cornerstone for organisational survival and growth. The competitiveness of a firm is often linked to its ability to innovate. However, as modern competition does not take place between individual companies but between entire supply chains, the emerging challenges have to be faced at the supply chain level. Nowadays, there is a need to construct innovative supply chains, as opposed to single innovative companies. Creating and managing innovations in supply chains will become one of the main differentiating aspects in a world of global competition.

In the food industry in particular, market forces and to a great extent the globalisation process, have been driving the industry towards more innovations in order to address market needs and face increased competition. At the same time, however, the level of research and development expenditures (which are relevant to innovation) in the food industry is rather low compared to total manufacturing. In addition, within the food chain, power imbalances seem also to affect innovation activity. For example, it has been found that retail power decreases innovation by manufacturers.

Moreover, the food industry presents some distinct characteristics:

  • It has links with various food and non-food sectors where different levels of innovations are achieved (e.g. chemicals, food technology, packaging, machinery, agriculture, and food retailing).
  • It is comprised of various subsectors (e.g. fruits and vegetables, dairy products, beverages, snack foods, flour and bakery products, confectioneries, meat and poultry products, fish and marine products and fats and oils) where significant differences exist in terms of innovative performance.

Some of the key questions are:

  • What types of innovations take place in the food chain?
  • Which are the sources and the stimulus of innovation?
  • How should benefits of supply chain innovations be shared between supply chain partners?
  • Which are the specific characteristics of the sector that affect innovation?
  • Does innovation in the food industry have the same character as in other industries?
  • What are the possible impacts of innovations upstream or downstream in the food supply chain?
  • Are there positive spin-off effects in different stages of the supply chain?

In this special issue, it is envisaged that the traditional view on innovation, often expressed in terms of product and process innovation, will be expanded. The aim is to link innovation in the food chain to new value that is brought in firms, instead of new things. Within this framework of developments, this special issue will offer an opportunity for international researchers to present their work.

The special issue welcomes conceptual/theoretical and empirical research papers which will be original and will shed further light on this relatively unexplored topic.

Subject Coverage
Relevant papers should be related to the food chain and topics include but are not limited to:
  • Innovation strategy comparison (e.g. between countries, food subsectors, food chain levels, food chain partners, competitors)
  • Diffusion of innovation
  • Adoption of innovation
  • Barriers and enablers of innovation
  • Success and failure factors of innovation
  • New product development
  • Innovation in food retailing
  • Innovation in food marketing, food branding
  • Innovation in primary food production
  • Consumer's response to innovation
  • Innovation in logistics services
  • Innovation in quality control and traceability systems (GlobalGap, BRC, HACCP),
  • Assessment and impact of innovation
  • Profit and risk sharing of innovations
  • Innovation and culture in cross-country food chains
  • Innovation in the use of production technology (e.g. equipment, packaging, input materials)
  • Innovation in the use of information and communications technologies
  • Web-based innovation in product design (e.g. collaboration platforms)
  • Role of collaboration in innovation
  • Organisational innovation in food firms (e.g. SME's vs. multinationals)
Prospective authors are encouraged to discuss their topic with the special issue editors.

Notes for Prospective Authors

Submitted papers should not have been previously published nor be currently under consideration for publication elsewhere

All papers are refereed through a peer review process. A guide for authors, sample copies and other relevant information for submitting papers are available on the Author Guidelines page

Important Dates

Manuscript due: 1 February 2009

Notification of acceptance: 30 April 2009

Submission of revised manuscript: 30 July 2009

Notification of final acceptance: 30 September 2009