SMARTCHAIN - Internal and external driving forces of short food supply chains

SMARTCHAIN ( is an ambitious, 3 years project with 43 partners from 11 European countries including key stakeholders from the domain of short food supply chain as actors in the project. The central objective is to foster and accelerate the shift towards collaborative short food supply chains and, through concrete actions and recommendations, to introduce new robust business models and innovative practical solutions that enhance the competitiveness and sustainability of the European agri-food system.

Using bottom-up, demand-driven research, the SMARTCHAIN consortium is:
i) performing a multi-perspective analysis of 18 case studies of short food supply chains in terms of technological, regulatory, social, economic and environmental factors,
ii) assessing the linkages and interactions among all stakeholders involved in short food supply chains  
iii) identifying the key parameters that influence sustainable food production and rural development among different regions in Europe.

The project has established 9 national communities of short food supply chains (Innovation and Collaboration Hubs) in different partner countries (France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Serbia, Spain and Switzerland) and a virtual innovation hub in order to facilitate stakeholder engagement, bringing farmers and consumers together in a trust-enhancing environment enabling them to generate demand driven-innovations. Combination of scientific and practical knowledge and the use of innovation workshops is enabling the development of practical innovative solutions as well as the promotion of a framework for different forms of collaborative short food supply chains in urban and rural areas. SMARTCHAIN is generating concrete actions for knowledge transfer, through the organisation of multi-stakeholder workshops and training activities for farmers and short food supply chain entrepreneurs.


We understand the idea of Short food supply chain as the reduction of the distance between producer and consumer, with the aim to improve the transparency, efficiency and sustainability of food supply chains, reducing the number of intermediaries and empowering the producer position within the value chain.


With this questionnaire, we aim to find out the main internal and external positive and negative factors influencing short food supply chains’ development, in order to know where and how to act to facilitate them.

If you have any doubt or question about this questionnaire or about the project, do not hesitate to contact us: 

Thanks a lot for filling this questionnaire! Your knowledge and experience will provide us precious information about food supply chains driving forces.

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In which country/ies is located your activity? *
What is your position in the value chain? *
Please tick all the functions represented in your entity
What is the nature of your organization? *
How many people does your entity represent? *
Which type(s) of product do you handle or work/deal with? *
Which is/are the commercialization channel(s) you use? *
By "individual selling" we mean "selling of the products of only one production unit"  --  By "collective selling" we mean "combined selling of the products of at least two production units"  --  By "own" we mean "internal, part of your organization and governance"  --  By "external" we mean "separate, part of another organization and governance"
Which of these barriers are facing short food supply chains practitioners?
Tell us to which extend the items mentioned below are barriers that short food supply chains are actually facing in their development (0=not relevant and 5=highly relevant). Please give us some more details about the most relevant ones in the next box.
0 (Not relevant)
5 (Highly relevant)
I don't know
National rules on mandatory Legal Quality requirements (in terms of hygiene, cold chain, infrastructure, standards,...)
National rules on Tracking (mandatory origin labelling of some food products)
Other national rules
EU regulation about tracking and food security
Other EU regulation
Regional or local regulation
Seal, certification or labelling requirements
Costs of legally required measures and infrastructures
Sectorial policies
Market policies (CAP,…)
Conflicts and contradictions between unharmonized rules
Lack of regulatory tools to support, differentiate and protect short food supply chains (e.g. to avoid “false producers” or fraud)
Unfair Trading Practices (unduly or unfairly shift in prices, unilateral and/or retroactive changes to a contract, unfair termination of a contractual relationship, etc.)
Territorial supply constraints
Variability of the supplier capacity
Variability of the demand
Variability of prices
Difference between offer and demand
Difficulty to compete with conventional big distribution channels (pressure on prices, aggressive marketing, exclusivity contracts,…)
Downward pressure on prices by the buyers
Upward pressure on prices by the (re)sellers
Flows and stocks management
Cost of transports and logistics
Product limitations or needs (example: perishability, fragility, …)
Lack of industrial infrastructures
Lack of time to dedicate to communication, marketing and selling
Lack of knowledge and skills in communication, marketing and selling
Lack of information and support to develop new short food supply chains, especially in business start-up phase
Insufficient access to market-relevant of product or relevant information
Customer requirements
Lack of consumer awareness
Consumer negative perception of short food supply chains (local food is too expensive, local food is not readily available, and no time to find it,…)
Lack of digitalisation and of technological support
Cost of digitalisation and technological support
Clear selection
Can you detail a bit more the most relevant barriers?  
For example naming some concrete rules that are difficult/expensive for short food supply chains practitioners to fulfill (at EU, national, regional or local level), or naming the concrete certification standards that are difficult/expensive to fulfill, or naming the different conflictual rules short food supply chains practitioners may have to deal with, ...
Are there any more relevant barriers or difficulties that aren't mentioned in the list above?
Do you have any (idea of) solution for some of these barriers?
Which are the incentives or supports that short food supply chains practitioners can find in their environment?
Can be of all kind: legal, infrastructural, fiscal, social, financial, logistical, ...
What would need short food supply chains practitioners to be able to foster their activity?
Can be all kind of support: legal, infrastructural, fiscal, social, financial, logistical, ... (Please order it by relative importance)  
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