Food manufacturing & economies of scale: a modelling approach

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • University of Manchester


Since the industrial revolution, the economies of scale have been widely exploited in the food production. A centralised production reduces the manufacturing cost, however the transport costs and the CO2 emissions of process and distribution systems can increase. In this paper, we explore several scenarios that could affect the optimum food supply chain configuration. For this purpose, we propose a novel framework, we call the Honeycomb model, that integrates the techno-economic analysis and environmental impact for the design of an optimum configuration (processing plant capacities, location of the facilities, suppliers, etc.). We use the production of tomato paste as an illustrative case study. The results highlight the importance of the carbon footprint of the raw materials on the predicted configuration for agro-based products. In some cases, the CO2 emissions associated with the agricultural activities far exceed the CO2 from the transportation, turning the food miles an unreliable metric of sustainability.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication27th European Symposium on Computer Aided Process Engineering
EditorsAntonio Espuña, Moisès Graells, Luis Puigjaner
Publication statusPublished - 22 Sep 2017
Event27th European Symposium on Computer-Aided Process Engineering - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: 1 Oct 20175 Oct 2017

Publication series

NameComputer Aided Chemical Engineering
ISSN (Print)1570-7946


Conference27th European Symposium on Computer-Aided Process Engineering
Abbreviated titleESCAPE-27


  • distributed/centralised manufacturing, optimisation, supply chain

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