Earlier this year, DEFRA commissioned Ipsos MORI to gauge awareness of the Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative (PSFPI) in schools and local authorities. The survey included questions on the proportion of tenders from small and local producers, including meat producers. The results were positive with:
three in five schools (59 per cent.) and four in five local authorities stating that they encourage tenders from small and local producers;
almost seven in 10 local authorities (69 per cent.) stating that at least half the food supplied to schools in their area is from small and local producers;
half of the schools (53 per cent.) stating that at least half of their food is supplied by small and local producers while one in ten schools (9 per cent.) say that all their food is supplied from these producers.
The report also found that in 52 per cent. of the local authorities and 44 per cent. of schools the proportion of food supplied by small and local producers during the last two to three years had increased.
A copy of the Ipsos MORI survey is on the PSFPI website at http://www.defra.gov.uk/farm/policy/sustain/procurement/school-food.htm. It was conducted during the period March to July 2007 and covered 81 local authorities and 255 schools.
Recent research by the Meat and Livestock Commission, based on estimates provided by 126 English local authorities, suggests that 39 per cent. of their meat by volume was locally sourced. The figure may exaggerate the amount of locally farmed meat supplied as not all local authorities seek provenance.
In addition to the research mentioned above, DEFRA is currently collating data from across central Government to determine the proportion of publicly procured food that is British. We aim to publish the information before the end of this month.