24 April 2008 | Paul Snell
Buyers aiming to source responsibly produced food are being held back by a lack of development of supply chains.
Diana Spellman, managing director of food procurement firm Partners in Purchasing, told supplymanagement.com UK supply chains are not able to meet the growth in demand for responsibly or locally sourced food.
She added bigger buyers, such as the supermarkets, were frustrated by the lack of supply, and smaller buyers, such as local restaurants, were not able to demand sufficient volumes from UK farmers.
She believes purchasers can play a role in developing chains, beginning with providing regular orders. "We could, as buyers, do a lot more. We don't need to tie-up or offer contracts to farmers, just three to five year commitments to say they will have regular demand. Three years for a farmer makes it much easier for them to forecast."
Spellman said a combination of increased investment in logistics and more information for farmers was necessary to meet demand for sustainable food.