Measuring Vulnerability in the Food System

By Ari Paloviita, Antti Puupponen, Teea Kortetmäki and Tiina Silvasti.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: July 9, 2015 $US5.00

Food system vulnerability is an emerging concept for food security policies and food supply chain management. Hence, measuring food system vulnerability is necessary for developing appropriate food security policies and managing food supply chain vulnerabilities. In this paper, we aim to clarify the development process of food system vulnerability indicators. We conducted an abducted qualitative content analysis based on public documents of various Finnish organizations, including ministries and administration, interest organizations, NGOs, food sector enterprises, and a church. We analysed the engagement level of various organizations in food security and identified vulnerability aspects in the Finnish food system. This was followed by the evaluation of relevant goals, potential target groups, and functions, as well as of the temporal and spatial boundaries of food system vulnerability indicators. We found that most of the Finnish organizations do not explicitly address national food security, which implies that food security is considered self-evident. However, various social, economic, environmental, and institutional vulnerabilities were identified. We conclude that, even in a basically food-secure country such as Finland, measuring external and internal factors of vulnerability should be seriously addressed. Moreover, fundamental elements of sustainability should be built-in characteristics of any set of vulnerability indicators. Food system vulnerability indicators enable identification and communication of vulnerability both at national, regional, and food supply chain levels.

Keywords: Food System, Vulnerability Indicators, Food Security, Food Supply Chain Management

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 5, Issue 3, September 2015, pp.59-70. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: July 9, 2015 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 443.106KB)).

Dr. Ari Paloviita

Post-doctoral Researcher, Department of Social Sciences and Philosophy, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland

Dr. Antti Puupponen

Jyväskylä, Finland

Teea Kortetmäki

Jyväskylä, Finland

Dr. Tiina Silvasti

Jyväskylä, Finland