Food Insecurity, Population Health and Food Supply Chain: A Framework Integrating Three Constructs

Ik-Whan G. Kwon, Sung-Ho Kim, Kwan-Soon Han


Design/methodology/approach: food insecurity is discussed within population health and food supply chain framework. Research shows that food insecurity is one of the three main causes in impacting population health. After exploring the relationship between food insecurity and population health, this study explores possible solutions to address food insecurity through food supply chain management framework. Food supply chain is different from commercial supply chain in many important attributes. Literature does not provide research framework linking these three attributes (food insecurity, population health and food supply chain). Therefore, we use an exploratory map to build roadmap to a successful integration of these three attributes. Purpose: social determinants of health are considered as a precondition for population health. Food security forms basis for catalyst in population health. Food security touches human dignity. Many people face starvation while tons of foods are wasted globally. There is a mismatch between supply and demand for food production and consumption. Distributions of foods from producers to consumers become a focal point in managing starvation and waste/glut of foods. The purpose of this paper is to investigate how food supply chain mitigates food insecurity and provides sustainable food supply. Findings: this paper reveals mismatch between supply and consumption of food at a global scale. Inadequate supply chain assets -technologies, storages, distribution networks, etc. - at the producer’s ends causes lower return on investments for producers. Unique characteristics of food supply chain compared with commercial supply chain raises challenges to the imbalance between supply and demand. Oligopolistic market structure may solve the chronic mismatch. Originality/value: literature addresses these three constructs – food security, population health and food supply chain – separately and independently from each other. This paper argues these three constructs should be addressed together in order to solve global food insecurity and waste. As far as we know, this is the first attempt to unify these three constructs.

Keywords: population health, food insecurity, social determinant of health, food supply chain, digital supply chain.

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