Examining Supply Chain Strategies for Premium Irish Food Products

  • Jennifer Fegan

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Framed by the current economic uncertainty associated with Brexit and the growing global demand for high quality food products, this research examines how premium agri-food producers on the island of Ireland (IoI) can successfully compete in international markets. The marketing perspective and organisational theory perspective of the supply chain (SC) are used to examine successful international premium SCs (Christopher and Towill, 2002; Ashenbaum et al., 2009). Applying a RBV (Barney, 1991) theoretical lens this research focuses on the: unique attributes (UAs) of premium Irish food; the dynamic capabilities (DCs); and the collaborations of the key actors within the Irish agri- food supply chain.
Case Study Research (Yin, 2014) was used in order to meet the aims and objectives of this study and it was conducted in a two stage process. In Stage 1, the research was conducted examining a holistic (single-unit of analysis). The single-unit of analysis was a producer of premium Irish food, across six different cases. In Stage 2, the research was conducted using an embedded design, (multiple-units of analysis) in one single case. In this instance the single case was a premium Northern Irish beef SC and the multiple-units of analysis were the producer, the retailer and the chefs within the SC. Key contributions have been made in identifying the unique attributes (UAs) of premium Irish agri-food products. Additionally, the dynamic capability (DC) theory of the firm has been extended (Morgan et al., 2012). The extent of collaborations within the premium agri-food SC has also been highlighted. Finally, a conceptual model for firms hoping to achieve success in international markets has been developed.
This research makes important recommendations for regional and local food producers. It also sets out a number of priorities for the NI premium beef SC. This is one of the first studies using RBV theory to identify and categorise the unique attributes of premium Irish food. The results are beneficial to academics in this research area, stakeholders within the SC and also government agencies working in this sector.
Date of AwardJul 2020
Original languageEnglish
SponsorsDepartment of Agriculture, Environment & Rural Affairs (DAERA) of Northern Ireland (UK)
SupervisorPaul Humphreys (Supervisor), Gillian Armstrong (Supervisor) & Lynsey Elizabeth Hollywood (Supervisor)


  • Supply Chain
  • Resource Based View
  • Premium Food
  • Unique Attributes
  • Dynamic Capabilities
  • Collaborations

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