FBL 1: Plant-based meat alternative supply chains: mapping the sustainability impact

Faculty: Business and Law

Supervisors: Prof Manoj Dora; Dr Jihee Kim; Prof Helen Rogers (external)

Location: Cambridge

The interview for this project is expected to take place on Tuesday 2 May.

The global food system, contributing up to 30% of greenhouse gas emissions, is a prominent factor of biodiversity loss. Within the food ecosystem, meat production is a leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, tying up over 25% of usable land for livestock grazing (FAO, 2021).

Alternative protein-based products (e.g., pea protein, soy, mycoprotein) are recognised as an effective way to address this issue (McClements, 2020). Central to this trend is consumers’ belief that alternative protein-based products are considerably ‘greener’ than meat-based products (reinforced through use of green packaging, advertising, and governmental campaigns) but whether this holds true when considering all stages of the supply chain remains unclear.

Furthermore, the business models that underpin these supply chains must in themselves also be sustainable. To date there have been no in-depth longitudinal studies that have sought to measure the impact of alternative proteins on supply chains.

Consequently, analysing, mapping, and modelling these new supply chains to better understand the industry requirements and accompanying climate challenges becomes an important area to explore.

The objective of this research is to investigate three core issues of food system innovations associated with increased adoption of plant-based proteins in human diets, namely (i) understanding and measuring sustainability performance; (ii) understanding the industry challenges hindering mainstream adoption; and (iii) mapping the key supply chain sustainability challenges.

Research will include carrying out a structured literature review, database searches, collect and critically analyse research data using quantitative/qualitative techniques, and the dissemination of research findings.

Furthermore, it is expected that researcher will assist with the writing of research reports/papers, liaise with internal and external contacts.

Candidates should have a degree in economics/management studies. Experience in food supply chains, food systems and sustainability are desirable. Excellent written and oral communication skills are essential for this role.

If you would like to discuss this research project, please contact Professor Manoj Dora: manoj.dora@aru.ac.uk

Apply online by 19 March 2023

Funding notes

This successful applicant for this project will receive a Vice Chancellor’s PhD Scholarship which covers Home tuition fees and provides a UKRI equivalent minimum annual stipend for three years. For 2022/3 this was £17,688 per year. The award is subject to the successful candidate meeting the scholarship terms and conditions. Please note that the University asserts the right to claim any intellectual property generated by research it funds.

Download the full terms and conditions.