A NEW independent project has revealed there is strong support from Scotland’s public sector and NHS Scotland to source fresh produce locally.
The “Sustainable Food and the Procurement Process Project” traced all fresh red meat (beef, lamb and pork), fresh fish, milk and eggs supplied to Scottish local authorities and NHS Scotland during a random one week period.
The study then broke down the origin of supply into the percentage of product originating from: Scotland; the rest of the UK; EU; and non-EU.
The study found that the majority of fresh red meat used by NHS Scotland and local authorities (62 per cent) was sourced from Scotland, with the rest of the UK providing 34 per cent. Support for Scottish-origin lamb was particularly strong, with 82 per cent of fresh lamb sourced from Scotland.
In the case of fresh fish and milk, 100 per cent was sourced from Scotland and seven of the 32 local authorities source all eggs from Scotland, with 23 local authorities sourcing from the rest of the UK.
For Scottish-origin beef, lamb, pork the farm location was also traced and plotted on a “Food Map”. This map will be given to each local authority and health board and will be used as information on the provenance of the food they use.
The project was co-funded by Quality Meat Scotland (QMS) and the Scottish Government’s Food, Drink and Rural Affairs Committee.
The conclusions of the project have been welcomed by Scotland’s Food Secretary, Richard Lochhead, and Jim McLaren, Chairman of QMS.
Mr Lochhead said: “The sustainable procurement of foods brings opportunities for local companies through sustaining jobs and short supply chains.
“It also provides guarantees on animal health and welfare and greater appreciation of where our food comes from.
“As Scotland enters the Year of Food and Drink 2015, it is extremely encouraging to get a snapshot into the provenance of foods being used by our public sector bodies. We are now on a journey towards becoming a Good Food Nation and the findings of this project will help us further develop our sourcing policies.”
Jim McLaren, Chairman of QMS, said the results from this independent project are extremely encouraging.
“There is scope for further improvement but excellent progress has been made and it’s great to see Scottish public sector bodies and NHS Scotland supporting Scottish farming.
“It is welcome recognition that the public sector appreciates the value of the PGI status of our Scotch Beef and Scotch Lamb brands, as well as the quality assurance schemes which underpin these brands and Specially Selected Pork.
“The results of this project, which will increase awareness of the provenance of food used in Scottish Local authorities and NHS Boards, will benefit communities throughout Scotland and also the wider Scottish food industry.”