Until now, it has been difficult for smaller, local producers and suppliers to access the public sector food supply chain. Contracts for public sector institutions, such as hospitals and colleges, are typically dominated by large national contractors.
But this is about to change. The government’s Crown Commercial Service, in collaboration with Defra, is developing a new approach, known as the Future Food Framework, which takes advantage of modern IT technology and the government’s existing dynamic procurement process which is already used in other sectors.
The new approach, delivered via an online platform, will give local food producers and suppliers the opportunity to sell their produce directly to the public sector marketplace and give public sector buyers a much wider choice of options to source local fresh food.
The South West Food Hub is preparing the region to pilot this new approach in 2021, by working with public sector partners to prepare them to buy their food through the new platform, whilst supporting local producers and suppliers to get ready to supply through it.