How resilient are US food supply chains?

Posted: 24 July 2023 | | No comments yet

Researchers have carried out a study that they claim improves understanding surrounding agri-food supply chain security in the US.

supply chain

A team of researchers at the University of Illinois’ Grainger College of Engineering have identified a number of chokepoints in the US agricultural and food supply chains.

Published in the journal Nature Food, the study is titled “Structural chokepoints determine the resilience of agri-food supply chains in the United States,” and was carried out by authors including CEE Associate Professor Megan Konar and CEE Ph.D. student Deniz Berfin Karakoc.  

“The agricultural and food systems of the United States are critical for ensuring the stability of both domestic and global food systems, so it is essential to understand the structural resilience of the country’s agri-food supply chains to threats,” the researchers write.

“Because the US plays a key role in a highly integrated global food system, the resilience and security of the US food supply chain has implications for global food security,” they continued.

The researchers when on to define agricultural and food system security and resilience as an increasingly recognised non-traditional defence objective in the national security community and say it is critical to the mission of US national defence agencies.

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“We were inspired to perform this research due to the supply chain disruptions during the pandemic and in response to the Executive Order on America’s Supply Chains, which highlights the importance of supply chains for national security. We hope this research can contribute to more resilient and secure food supply chains,” said Konar.

Chokepoints are locations that are critical for distributing agri-food commodities throughout the country. A lot of research into agri-food supply chains has been from the perspective of industrial firms with a focus on logistics, cost-savings and resilience.

However, the researchers took a national and global security perspective due to growing threats such as pandemics, extreme weather events, climate shocks, and cyber and terrorist attacks. The researchers said that they employed a complex network approach to determine the chokepoints within the agri-food supply chains in the continental US for years including 2007, 2012 and 2017. They also highlighted that they found that chokepoints were generally consistent over time.

To read the full study click here.