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Innovation needs and outcomes in food micro firms

Morley, Adrian Sherwin 2003. Innovation needs and outcomes in food micro firms. PhD Thesis, University of Wales, Cardiff.
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In the context of the prolonged rural crisis affecting both the UK and many other Western regions, the adding of value to agricultural products at, or near the locality of, the farmgate represents a potentially rich form of rural development. One common method for adding value to such products is through the small-scale production of high quality food products that command price premiums in the marketplace, through the targeting of niche consumer demands. Despite a growing interest in this form of value adding, formal understanding of the mechanics of how the businesses that produce these products operate remains limited. This thesis attempts to contribute towards this understanding by taking innovation as a central point of analysis. It aims to contribute both towards our theoretical understanding of micro food firm dynamics and, practically, towards the development of effective policy tools to support food micro firm supply chains. This is achieved through the development of a broad conceptual framework developed through a multidisciplinary literature review. Through this framework, a longitudinal study of six micro food firms is undertaken along with a comprehensive postal survey of Welsh food businesses. The empirical data is subsequently co-analysed and related back to the existing theoretical understanding of the research issues. The thesis concludes by drawing upon a number of central issues that influence the development of food micro firms. Among the findings of the research are that the aims and objectives of microfirm entrepreneurs are central to the development of the firm. Moreover, these are failing to be understood by both policymakers and mainstream food industry interests. In a broader context, the thesis argues that small scale quality food systems must learn to exist under the shadow of conventional interests, and follow development paths that are able to resist mainstream appropriation. Only the development of systems that effectively bridge the two production ethics in a form that ensures the integrity of small scale activities can enable the alternative values encompassed within many microfirm entrepreneurs to cease being alternative.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Status: Unpublished
Schools: Geography and Planning (GEOPL)
Funders: ESRC Case Award
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 07 Nov 2019 09:09

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