David Sipple, Heiner Schanz
July 16, 2019
Food markets are not considered to be a topic for governance on municipal levels. One reason for this is the de-localization of modern food systems, which is correlating with processes of globalization and differentiation (horizontally by different food groups, vertically by value creation stages). This is leading to an increasing complexity and declining transparency of production-, process- and value chains within food markets. Moreover, there is evidence for strong concentration processes especially within the German food retail sector, where a few large competitors divide the market among themselves. Because of that, food markets are perceived to be hardly accessible for governance approaches and possibilities of coordination on municipal levels, such as strengthening ecological sustainability or regional identity. But at the same time, there is a variety of companies or ‘market actors’ producing, processing and retailing food, located within municipalities and embedded in and connected to each other via food markets on municipal, regional, national and international levels. The existence of these food supply market networks within municipalities are opening up the possibility of capturing and describing them as well as analyzing their structures with methods of social network analysis (SNA). While analyzing the horizontal market networks of food supply within two South-German municipalities, the present study intends to develop a systematic approach for capturing market structures of food supply on municipal levels and – building on this – deriving related governance approaches and coordination possibilities.