Government commits to buying locally-sourced food to help cut waste

In an attempt to reduce food waste, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that from 2017 all of central Government will commit to buying fresh, locally sourced, seasonal food: promising that “all food that can be bought locally will be bought locally”.

This will be done through a new, simplified food and drink buying standard: ‘The Plan for Public Procurement’. Public sector buyers will judge suppliers based on their environmental credentials and will look closely at the resource efficiency of food production, such as water and energy use and waste production and recycling. This makes it an exciting prospect for businesses that are focussed on minimising their environmental impact.

Not only will it directly benefit environmentally responsible businesses, according to Defra, it will further benefit rural economies and the British public. Defra has estimated that the standard will equate to around £200m of potential new business for British farmers.

Liz Truss, the recently appointed Environment Secretary stated that; “This move will mean that food served in canteens across the public sector can be more local, seasonal and tastier… it will help drive Britain’s first class food and drink industry and benefit the environment through reduced waste, higher take-up of meals and less unappetising food left on plates”.

In addition, the wider public sector will be encouraged and supported in using the new framework with the expectation that all schools and hospitals will, in future, serve more locally reared meats and freshly picked fruit and vegetables.

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