Sourcing Challenges And Issues In The UK Food Retail Industry Supply Chain


What are the sourcing issues and challenges in UK food retail industry Supply chain and possible solutions that companies are using,

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Proposed Title:

Sourcing challenges and issues in the UK food retail industry supply chain and solutions with existing example from the industry top retailers


Retailers were once effectively the passive recipients of products, allocated to stores by manufacturers in anticipation of demand .Today retailers are the active designers and controllers of product supply in reaction to known customer demand. They control, organize and manage the supply chain from production to consumption. This is the essence of retail logistics and supply chain transformation that has taken place (John Fernie & Leigh Sparks 2009). Because of this big change that sourcing function plays a very big role in making sure that customers’ finds food in the retail shelves at all the times as this is a basic need.

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The UK sourcing or importation of food and nonalcoholic beverages has gone up and we see problems with companies like KFC shutting down half of its 900 outlets in the UK due to supply chain failures. It is decided in the proposed project to discuss sourcing issues and challenges and possible solutions in the Uk food industry.

            The food industry of the country has to depend on resources sourced from both domestic and international sources. The food industry of UK is fairly large and can be essentially affected by many factors (Grimm, Hofstetter & Sarkis, 2012). One of the major factors that is identified is the greater pressure on imported food sources. Moreover, many of the companies have been forced to stop their operation due to the losses they have incurred concerning their supply chain management. This has necessitated the development of greater understandings in regards to the various factors that are currently affecting the food industry of the country (Bourlakis et al., 2016).

The essential focus will be on supply chain management. Only through better analysis of the present situations can clear ideas be formed regarding the impact of the factors in the future. Apart from companies like KFC there are also other food and groceries retailers like Sainsbury, TESCO and Asda. Moreover, the rapid emergence of other European companies like Aldi and Lidl has created a tough situation concerning competition in the food and food retail industry (Brandenburg et al., 2014). It will be very important to know how the new companies have been able to gain essentially larger shares of the market in very less time. Thus, there is a genuine need to find out the essential aspects of the logistics functions that govern the operational feasibility of some businesses in the country.

Research Question

At the same time it becomes much important to know where the other businesses are going wrong and how can the industry change the prevalent situations that seem to be affecting the market with regards to the supply chain functions (O’Rourke, 2014). The various essential factors need to be systematically analyzed for the better wholesome understanding of issues related to supply chain functions of the companies operating in the UK food industry.

Research Question

What are the Supply chain management sourcing issues that are faced by uk food retail industry and what are the companies doing as a solution to the issues? Also an example from the industry is required

Aims and Objectives

            The aim of the report will be to find out the various market factors that affect the supply chain sourcing issues concerning the food retail industry of the country.

The essential objectives of the report will be:

  • To understand the significant challenges that affect the supply chain functions of the retail food companies in the UK
  • To evaluate changing situations concerning the logistics functions of the various retail food businesses around the UK
  • To evaluate how food retail organizations in the UK manage their supply chain functions
  • To evaluate the essential benefits of global sourcing for the food retail industry
  • To find the essential benefits of sourcing locally produced resources           

Data to be collected

            The data collection procedure will include both primary and secondary data collection methods. This will be done in order to provide data that will be relevant to the issues being analyzed through the report. Moreover, this will help in the extensive research of the subject.

            The primary data will be gathered with the help of questionnaires that will be aimed towards understanding the various aspects intrinsically related to the supply chain functions of various businesses operating within the food industry of the UK. The questionnaires will be open ended and focused towards gathering the views of the most important people of the various food businesses around the UK concerning logistics and supply chain functionality. Interviews helps to gather deeper insight into a given identified issue hence this technique will be used.

            The interviews will be conducted among various managers working in the food retail sector of the country. Phone interviews will also be used to gather essential data. The people to be interviewed will be decided on the basis on their tenure as managers and responsibilities the interviewees have handled in the food retail sector. The preferred candidates will be those that can provide valuable insights into the ground realities of the retail food industry of the country. The preferred companies that will be approached are Sainsbury, TESCO and Asda.

            The secondary data collection will be based on previous researches that have covered the same subject. Hence, data from researches that have gathered essential information about the same or related issues in the past will be effectively gathered. The major focus will be towards gathering essential information from books, case studies and business or company journals. Both quantitative and qualitative data will be gathered from the previous researches.

Aims and Objectives

Proposed Analytical Technique(s)

Literature/Data Sources Investigated to Date

Books on sourcing company  journals and university material in the library. A good example of a book is Fernie, J., Fernie, J., Sparks, L., & Sparks, L. (2014;2009;). Logistics and retail management: Emerging issues and new challenges in the retail supply chain (4th;Fourth; ed.). The literature that has been consulted on the basis of their relevance to the exact issues that were identified. The works of Christopher (2016) have been consulted for the better understanding of logistics chain functions industries. Fernie & Sparks (2014) have given essential insights into the management of logistics functions across retail stores in the UK.

The work also encompasses the inventory and supply chain management functions of the food related retail industry of the country. Sanchez Rodrigues, Harris, & Mason (2015) have provided essential details about the supply chain functionalities that are employed across the various retail sectors. The extensive nature of the work has made it necessary for considering many essential literatures. The consulted works will hence be related to supply chain functions, logistics, market analysis of the UK food retail stores, supplier analysis and other essential related subjects to the significant topic of discussion (Turi, Goncalves & Mocan, 2014).

            The food retail industry of the UK is currently facing still challenges because of the increasing amount of imported supplies. This means that the country is having to pay more to the various exporters than what it would have cost to pay for gaining home grown supplies. With Brexit, situations can worsen further with regards to the supply chain functions of the food industry if the challenges are not effectively tackled (Dabbene, Gay & Tortia, 2014). The recent literatures will be consulted as they can provide a clearer picture in regards to the changes that have crucially affected the UK food retail industry in the present times.

For example- various studies have pointed towards the changing food habits of the people contributing towards the rapid increase for the requirement of essential supplies (Rueda, Garrett & Lambin, 2017). It is very much important that a substantial amount of works are consulted in order to bring about essential amount of information concerning the subject. The literatures that have crucially analyzed the current changes in the food industry of the UK like the KFC closing its operations, will be consulted. Hence, a wholesome presentation of ideas will be focused for the study.



Start date

End date


Allocation, Research and Formation of research question




Design, Methodology and Data Collection




Literature review, Write up




Write up : Analysis and Introduction







Discussed With

The topic has been discussed with the lecturer and the status of the work is currently in waiting.

Foreseeable problems

– Difficulties in finding the rite data.

– Poor planning and time management

– Finding relevant literature

– Cooperation difficulties with people interviewed.


Ala-Harja, H., & Helo, P. (2015). Reprint of “Green supply chain decisions–Case-based performance analysis from the food industry”. Transportation Research Part E: Logistics and Transportation Review, 74, 11-21.

Bourlakis, M., Maglaras, G., Aktas, E., Gallear, D., & Fotopoulos, C. (2016). Does firm size influence sustainable performance in food supply chains: Insights from Greek SMEs. In Developments in Logistics and Supply Chain Management (pp. 253-265). Palgrave Macmillan, London.

Brandenburg, M., Govindan, K., Sarkis, J., & Seuring, S. (2014). Quantitative models for sustainable supply chain management: Developments and directions. European Journal of Operational Research, 233(2), 299-312.

Christopher, M. (2016). Logistics & supply chain management. Pearson UK.

Dabbene, F., Gay, P., & Tortia, C. (2014). Traceability issues in food supply chain management: A review. Biosystems engineering, 120, 65-80.

Fernie, J., & Sparks, L. (2014). Logistics and retail management: emerging issues and new challenges in the retail supply chain. Kogan page publishers.

Grimm, J. H., Hofstetter, J. S., & Sarkis, J. (2012). Understanding diffusion of corporate sustainability standards through sub-supplier management in the food supply chain. George Perkins Marsh Institute, Worcester, 2012-25.

O’Rourke, D. (2014). The science of sustainable supply chains. Science, 344(6188), 1124-1127.

Rueda, X., Garrett, R. D., & Lambin, E. F. (2017). Corporate investments in supply chain sustainability: Selecting instruments in the agri-food industry. Journal of cleaner production, 142, 2480-2492.

Sanchez Rodrigues, V., Harris, I., & Mason, R. (2015). Horizontal logistics collaboration for enhanced supply chain performance: an international retail perspective. Supply Chain Management: An International Journal, 20(6), 631-647.

So, S., Parker, D., & Xu, H. (2012). A conceptual framework for adopting sustainability in the supply chain. In ANZAM operations, supply chain and services management symposium (pp. 397-413). ANZAM.

Turi, A., Goncalves, G., & Mocan, M. (2014). Challenges and competitiveness indicators for the sustainable development of the supply chain in food industry. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 124, 133-141.