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Title: Innovation in the UK fresh produce industry : sources, barriers and innovative capacity
Author: Menary, Jonathan
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 6340
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2018
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The UK fresh produce industry faces a number of challenges, including new pests and diseases, foreign competition and the cost of and access to seasonal labour. ‘Innovation’ has been promoted to meet these challenges, but the sources of innovation, and what holds it back, have not been explored. This thesis aims to: 1) identify the sources of innovation in the fresh produce industry, 2) determine the barriers to innovation in the industry and 3) seek ways to improve the overall innovative capacity of the sector. It does so by using the Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) approach as an underpinning framework within a case study design. 32 industry practitioners, including growers, technologists, researchers and retailers took part in semi-structured interviews, which were analysed using Framework Analysis. The study finds an increasingly consolidated and competitive industry, influenced heavily by retail groups and the need for constant innovation. It describes ‘types’ of innovation and their interlinked nature, as well as the inherent uncertainty around innovation and the difficulties in ‘measuring’ change. It finds that innovation often originates overseas and through experimentation or interaction with a given product or process. It describes both positive and negative communication in the industry and explores other blocking mechanisms to innovation including horizontal and vertical fragmentation, diverging innovation agendas and a “defensive” innovation culture. It also identifies a number of enabling factors for change. Interactivity and network formation are recognised as vital components of the innovation system. However, considerable emphasis is placed on non-systemic factors, such as entrepreneurialism. These findings are combined with existing literature in a functional-structural analysis to offer recommendations to bolster innovative capacity in the industry. The study makes several original contributions to knowledge, particularly with respect to the AIS approach: that innovation systems routinely extend beyond national borders, facilitated in part by another understudied issue – producer organisations – is an area for further research.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board ; University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: HD Industries. Land use. Labor ; S Agriculture (General)