The Gate-To-Plate Research Group was established in 2014. The group was formerly known as the Business Logistics Research Group but given the interests of its members in many different aspects of the food supply chain, we decided to concentrate on research in this field.

The Gate-To-Plate research group brings together the exceptional skills set and expertise of a multidisciplinary group of researchers from the Business School of the University of Portsmouth. This ranges from accounting, agricultural and environmental economics to executive information systems (EIS) and Business Intelligence.

The group has well established links with the local Public Health Authorities in Hampshire and at the port in Portsmouth, as well as with the China Agricultural University (CAU) and the National Centre for Food Manufacturing (NCFM) at the University of Lincoln, Holbeach.

The issue of food safety has been a concern equally for consumers and producers, both nationally and internationally. Food borne disease outbreaks have devastating health and economic impacts on everyone’s life. Gate-To-Plate group’s leading research seeks to tackle the risks and concerns associated with food safety along the entire food supply chain and ensure that people can enjoy safe and nutritious food. This, among others, includes addressing issues on traceability, labelling and packaging, food safety monitoring systems and risk modelling of food fraud.

Research topics

Performance measurement and risk management

The aim of the project is to gain understanding of performance measurement in the supply chains. This will be accomplished through case studies by examining how intermediary supply chain businesses in the agri-food industry negotiate the use of performance measurements in communications with suppliers as well as customers. We investigate how risk is perceived and incorporated into performance measurement systems in the food supply chains. Intermediary businesses are found to provide a crucial role in aligning supply networks to provide fresh produce to specification with high levels of on time in full delivery. We have extended this project to carry out a survey of intermediary supply chain businesses in the UK and Ireland examining their relationship with their main supplier.

The aim of the project is to understand practices and constraints with regard to risk management and performance measurement in the food supply chain with respect to the import/export of food. The first report of this project has been published online. A further extension of the work done in the area of Performance.

Measurement and Risk Management, representing collaboration between Professor Lisa Jack and Dr Andre Callado, includes the investigation of the patterns of use of performance indicators among Brazilian agribusiness companies in search of similarities and differences. Forty-nine performance indicators were used to extract the relevant information.

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the CIMA Charitable Trust. Furthermore, this has been partially funded by the SEJ-5061 research project of the Andalusian Government.

Traceability in food supply chains

This is a joint PhD project sponsored by the China Scholarship Council. The project aims at establishing an early warning and quality control optimisation method for food industry processes, using an integrated approach of Statistical Process Control (SPC), Fault Tree Analysis (FTA) and Reliability Block Diagram (RBD). The effectiveness of the method is evaluated through a case study of a company operating in frozen tilapia fillet supply chain.

Food safety

We are currently carrying out three projects in this area. One is funded by the University of Portsmouth Business School Research Project Fund. The project investigates the use of technological devices to capture (near) real time information on aspects of temperature/food safety that can be fed into an application, which can give advice on next steps and feed into a public health alert system where needed. Performance indicators can be kept and longitudinal data used to show trends within companies (how often does problem occur, when and where) thus feeding into management control systems. The potential for a mass participation bench-marking data centre and web delivery/alerting application will also be considered.

The second project, Key determinants in implementing successful food safety monitoring systems (PhD funded project by University of Portsmouth Business School) examines concerns about food safety within companies, both nationally and increasingly on an international scale. Food safety incidents from contamination or environmental events need to be monitored and effective alert systems put in place for recall of products and public awareness. The issue of food fraud is also of growing concern. It is estimated that around 500.000 people annually in the UK are affected by sickness arising from contaminated foods and commentators predict that quality and safety will overcome price and quantity as the main drivers of consumer behaviour in purchasing foods. The aim of the project is to design research methods to evaluate key determinants in implementing successful food safety monitoring systems. We address both the architecture of monitoring systems and the social systems required to support them.

The third project, Risk modelling of food fraud temptation “Outsmart” intelligent risk model scoping project, which is led by colleagues from NSF – Cmi Ltd and University of Kingston. The research project is funded by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), UK. NSF-Cmi Ltd have recently developed an outline evidence-based risk assessment framework to help their commercial customers identify potential food fraud. The "model" examines three main factors: 1) the potential profit a fraudster can make, 2) the potential difficulty and viability of the substitution and 3) the likelihood of detection. The project will identify existing risk tools, data sources and risk management approaches on an international basis, to identify current best practice to develop the framework. Government and industry elicitation will be used to populate it. A proposal for integration of this framework within an international collaborative intelligent platform “OutSmart” will form a key output for further development.

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