Partnering for inclusive business in food provisioning
This review (PDF) published in the Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability aims to unravel how partnering processes relate to processes of inclusion in the context of food provisioning. In food provisioning, inclusion has two key dimensions: the inclusion of (low-income) consumers to increase levels of food security, and the inclusion of smallholder producers to promote inclusive economic growth. This review discusses both dimensions and shows that the tandem of inclusive businesses and partnering processes reconfiguring the terms under which social groups at both sides of the agri-food chain are included is largely uncharted terrain. The paper ends with three promising areas for further research, which require a further integration of different literatures and perspectives. Firstly, to allow for a deeper understanding of how partnering shapes the terms of inclusion at both ends of the value chain; Research should both focus on how business models of lead firms include low-income consumers, and on qualifying the process of inclusion, rather than treating inclusion as an in or out affair. Secondly, to enhance our understanding of the contribution of partnering processes to systemic change; Research should look at both the terms of inclusion of suppliers of food and the terms of inclusion of purchasers of food as well as the inclusion of marginalized stakeholders in other parts of the value chain. Thirdly, to assess whether and how partnering processes influence and reshape the terms on which upstream and downstream actors are included in food provisioning; Research should integrate processual perspectives in cross-sector partnership literature with a contextual understanding of terms of inclusion in aligned business practices.