14 August 2006 | Paul Snell
The Scottish Executive is calling on local authorities to procure more locally produced food.
It follows a successful trial by East Ayrshire Council to use more local produce while also satisfying EU procurement rules. The scheme covered the purchase of food for 11 primary schools.
The council modified its procurement process by dividing four food contracts into nine. This included splitting dairy and cheese into separate deals to target producers who might make one but not the other. Now almost all firms supplying food to the schools are from Ayrshire and the council plans to extend the scheme to all primary schools in the area.
The Scottish Executive is exploring how it can apply the methods in other public-sector organisations, such as hospitals and prisons.
Although the cost of ingredients per meal in East Ayrshire has risen from 59p to 71.9p under the scheme, a Scottish Executive spokesman told supplymanagement.com
that procurement wasn't just about the bottom line, but about product quality and informing people where their food comes from.