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Title: Exploring the geography of food miles : an example from the UK grocery market
Author: Hughes , Rebecca Jane
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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'Food miles' are the distance that edible products are transported from primary producer(s) to end consumer(s). Over the last fifty years global economic changes, technological advances and logistical developments have led to foods being transported longer distances to their final destination. Although the modern food system allows UK retailers to meet consumer demand for high quality, low cost, exotic and out-of-season products, growing concern about the links between food miles and global warming is forcing retailers to reconsider their distribution practices. In a bid to improve their green credentials, all UK multiples are developing ' local' ranges. Locally sourced foods should, by definition, travel shorter distances to stores. This is not always the case however, because local products tend to be transported via mainstream logistics systems, which are highly centralised and circuitous. Asda is the only major UK grocer to have developed a local-specific distribution strategy. The retailer has delegated responsibilities to eleven independently operated local hubs, each one serving as a single point of delivery and consolidation for local suppliers from which their products are distributed to nearby Asda stores for sale. Asda claims that its unique hub system offers an efficient local sourcing solution. However, the associated food miles have yet to be investigated. In order to provide Asda with the means to review its local distribution strategy (as well as to encourage other retailers to adopt similar solutions), this thesis explains how a bespoke Local Food Miles Calculator was developed and utilised to investigate the efficiency of Asda's local distribution strategy (in terms of distances travelled and emissions produced) and to make suggestions as to how it could be improved. Thus, a new method for estimating food miles is presented, along with new techniques for distributing local products to the shelves of major grocery retailers' stores.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available