Applications of agent-based modelling and simulation in the agri-food supply chains

Dhanan Sarwo Utomo, Bhakti Stephan Onggo, Stephen Eldridge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

90 Citations (Scopus)
328 Downloads (Pure)


Agri-food supply chains (ASC) are an important application domain for Operational Research/Management Science. In particular, the use of agent-based simulation (ABS) has increased in ASC research in recent years. This paper reviews existing ASC research that use ABS. The review begins by analysing the characteristics of the models and modelling reported in the literature. It illustrates that existing modelling research features extensive use of: single echelon supply chains; cases from high and middle income countries; unprocessed food products, empirical (as opposed to hypothetical) data; decision-making related to production planning and investment; and the use of black box validation. The second part of the review uses bibliographic mapping to analyse areas in ASC research which are yet to be addressed using ABS. We find that areas such as collaboration and competition, buyer–seller relationships, and service are under-researched. In addition, key actors in ASC such as food processors, supermarkets and retailers have not been included in the ABS models reported. Furthermore, these models have yet to incorporate important supply chain management theories such as Transaction Cost Economics and Resource-Based View as part of their design.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)794-805
Number of pages12
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number3
Early online date9 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sept 2018


  • literature review
  • agent-based modelling
  • Agri-food supply chain
  • Bibliographic


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