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QMS Wants Local People Eating Local Food

by 5m Editor
23 July 2008, at 12:36pm

SCOTLAND - Ensuring Scottish farmers get a larger slice of Scotland’s 380 million food procurement bill is the aim of a new QMS publication.

Red meat promotion and development body Quality Meat Scotland is this week launching a new edition of its public sector buyer’s guide for red meat, which gives public sector buyers guidance on putting the Scottish Government’s public procurement and sustainable development strategy into practice.

The guide which was developed by QMS in conjunction with the Scottish Government Procurement Directorate has been sent to all of Scotland’s public sector buyers this week and is now available on the procurement pages of the QMS website at www.qmscotland.co.uk.

It highlights key sustainable procurement developments and also includes useful advice on issues such as implementing recommended public contract terminology to enable local red meat businesses to better compete in tenders.

Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Affairs and Environment, Richard Lochhead said: “This guide demonstrates that by emphasising quality and specifying fresh seasonal produce, local and smaller producers can be encouraged to get involved in supplying the public sector.

“I hope it helps provide new market opportunities for red meat suppliers, in line with our developing National Food and Drink Policy and our sustainable approach to food procurement.” Scotland's public sector food procurement bill stands at approximately £80million, with meat products contributing around a 9% share.

QMS chairman Donald Biggar, said: “Public buyers are increasingly looking at sustainability and local sourcing when it comes to procuring food for places such as schools.

“In recent research commissioned by QMS, all 32 of Scotland’s Local Authorities now include sustainability criteria in their food supply contract, only 15 did in 2005.

"This is good news for Scotland’s producers, and it also gives a chance to small and local suppliers as well as supplier co-operatives, which can sometimes be well positioned to work with public buyers to meet sustainable food criteria.”

As part of QMS work with local authorities, it has undertaken full traceability audits for red meat supplies on behalf of a number of local authorities including Highlands, Aberdeenshire and Aberdeen City, Tayside Contracts, Fife and East Ayrshire.

Donald said: “We also assist public bodies by producing bi-monthly market reports for buyers to better understand market forces, help with creating specifications for the most popular cuts and advertising new tenders to the industry.

“Many of Scotland’s local authorities are leading the way in procuring locally, and it’s important to highlight the benefits this has for both their communities and local farmers.”

5m Editor