Responsibility and Sustainability in a Food Chain: A Priority Matrix Analysis

Francesco Caracciolo, Maria Teresa Gorgitano, Pasquale Lombardi, Giuliana Sannino, Fabio Verneau



This paper shows the results of empirical research conducted to assess the sustainability of a typical food supply chain, suggesting feasible solutions to satisfy inter-dimensional requisites of durable development. The analysis was conducted with reference to the supply chain of the San Marzano tomato (SMZ), a typical local food. The product is endowed with an origin certification label (PDO), meeting demand within high-value market niches. The SMZ is a flagship product in the Italian region of Campania and has benefited from several regionally funded interventions, such as genetic research and support for the application for EU certification of origin). Two key findings emerged from the research. First, the results allowed us to define a Stakeholder Priority and Responsibilities’ Matrix (SPRM), and monitor the sustainability trend of SMZ food supply chains. Second, the consistency between the adoption of quality strategy (brand of origin) and sustainable development of the sector was evaluated. Despite its intrinsic characteristics and its organized, well-defined structure, the SMZ food supply chain is unable to address sustainable objectives without considerable public intervention and support. In terms of sustainability, to be able to show desirable food chain characteristics, the existence of a fully collaborative relationship between the actors has to be ascertained. Identifying shared goals is essential to assign and implement coordinated actions, pooling responsibility for product quality into social and environmental dimensions.


PDO product; Sustainability assessment; Food chain management

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ISSN 1869-6945


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