Artificial intelligence and ethics within the food sector: Developing a common language for technology adoption across the supply chain

Louise Manning, Steve Brewer, Peter J Craigon, Jeremy Frey, Anabel Gutierrez Mendoza, Naomi Jacobs, Samantha Kanza, Samuel Munday, Justin Sacks, Simon Pearson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The use of artificial intelligence (AI) is growing in food supply chains. The ethical language associated with food supply and technology is contextualised and framed by the meaning given to it by stakeholders. Failure to differentiate between these nuanced meanings can create a barrier to technology adoption and reduce the benefit derived.

Scope and approach
The aim of this review paper is to consider the embedded ethical language used by stakeholders who collaborate in the adoption of AI in food supply chains. Ethical perspectives frame this literature review and provide structure to consider how to shape a common discourse to build trust in, and frame more considered utilisation of, AI in food supply chains to the benefit of users, and wider society.

Key findings and conclusions
Whilst the nature of data within the food system is much broader than the personal data covered by the European Union General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the ethical issues for computational and AI systems are similar and can be considered in terms of particular aspects: transparency, traceability, explainability, interpretability, accessibility, accountability and responsibility. The outputs of this research assist in giving a more rounded understanding of the language used, exploring the ethical interaction of aspects of AI used in food supply chains and also the management activities and actions that can be adopted to improve the applicability of AI technology, increase engagement and derive greater performance benefits. This work has implications for those developing AI governance protocols for the food supply chain as well as supply chain practitioners.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-42
Number of pages10
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Early online date30 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022


  • Responsibility, Accessibility, Explainability, Accountability, Interoperability, Artificial intelligence

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