University of Tasmania
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Empirical investigation of the impact of impediments to efficient food cold chain performance : a study of the Australian perishable food industry

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posted on 2024-03-19, 06:13 authored by Arman Marhamati

A food cold chain (FCC) is a specific type of cold chain (CC), designed to preserve food products at appropriate temperature. FCC typically begins at the farm level and continues up to the consumer level. It applies a series of refrigeration steps that preserve perishable foodstuffs by preserving them within an acceptable temperature range. In FCC, the correct conditions must be maintained from the processing/production point through transportation phases (storing, loading, unloading, and handling) to the consumers.
Today FCC is a key part of the global trade while refrigerated storage is one of the most frequently used methods for maintaining perishable food products. This process decreases the probability of microbial hazards that are responsible for foodborne illnesses. Food cold chain performance (FCCP) is directly correlated with the quality of food products in the perishable products industry. Nevertheless, organisational efforts and performance are possibly impaired by various impediments to an efficient FCC in terms of infrastructure, integration, cost, technology, and expertise. Thus, suppliers, producers, distributors, retailers, and other stakeholders have to carefully observe impediments to an efficient FCC to ensure the productivity of chain resources and to fill the gap between actual and desirable FCCP. Although a relationship between impediments to an efficient FCC and FCCP exists, there is limited research on what impediments to a typical FCC are and how they impact FCCP. To fill this gap, the objectives of this study were to: 1) identify the key impediments to an efficient FCC; 2) identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) of FCC; 3) examine the relationship between the impediments and KPIs of FCCP; and 4) propose recommendations for FCC management.
To achieve the research objective, an empirical study was conducted to the Australian perishable food industry using the factor analysis and structural equation modelling (SEM) methods, and survey data collected from the 292 senior managers (general managers, farm managers, operation managers, supply chain managers, managing directors, and owners) of producing and processing, transportation and warehousing, wholesaling and retail companies in the Australian perishable food industry.

The following key findings were obtained from the study:

1. There were four groups of impediments to an efficient FCC identified including infrastructural impediments, integration impediments, educational impediments and regulatory impediments
2. Seven groups of KPIs for FCC in the Australian perishable food industry include cost, quality and safety, traceability, customer service, efficiency, responsiveness and chain coordination.
3. There were a number of significant negative relationships between the four main groups of impediments to an efficient FCC and FCCP.
4. Regulatory impediments were the most influential ones in the FCC and infrastructural impediments were the least influential ones for the Australian perishable food industry.
5. There was more emphasis on customer service and responsiveness indicators than on cost, traceability and efficiency indicators.

The study has made the following contributions to FCC empirical research:

1. Based on the literature review findings, this study developed a theoretical conceptual framework that presents the relationship between the FCC impediments and FCCP KPIs.
2. Using a survey, the study identified the key impediments to FCC in the Australian perishable food industry and analyse their impact on FCCP.
3. The study provided recommendations for FCC management to reduce the impact of the key impediments and improve the FCCP in Australia. The study’s conceptual framework, analysis findings and recommendations can be adapted to similar sectors in other countries.



  • PhD Thesis


xviii, 237 pages


Australian Maritime College

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