A new Government website has been launched today (11.10.17) allowing food producers across the country to search online for public sector contracts, worth £1.2 billion every year, and connect with buyers from across the UK.
The ‘Food Marketplace’ website will streamline the procurement process by acting as an online catalogue, where UK food and catering businesses can add details of their products.
More than 8,000 buyers can then search for specific products and be paired with local suppliers.
The new website forms part of the Government’s pledge to procure one third of all food and catering services from small-medium enterprises (SMEs) in Britain and aims to become the “go-to location for public sector food buying for both suppliers and buyers.”
Launching the website during an event with producers and buyers, Food Minister George Eustice commented: “At a time when we are seeing more of our world-class food and drink on supermarket shelves and dinner tables around the world, it is only right our local hospitals and schools get the same access to Britain’s high quality, great tasting food.
“The launch of this new online Food Marketplace is a huge step towards our commitment to driving procurement of our home-grown produce across the public sector and I hope our ambitious food sector seizes this opportunity wholeheartedly.”
All food on the site will be assessed against the Government’s Balanced Scorecard which makes the process of tendering and competing for contracts clearer and ensures criteria such as cost can be balanced against more complex criteria like sustainability, health, nutrition and quality.
According to the Government, the new website is also a “significant milestone in delivering the Plan for Public Procurement”, which was launched in July 2014 by Dr Peter Bonfield and intended to create a simpler buying process and make sure a great share of public sector market is opened up to more SMEs and local producers.
Dr Bonfield welcomed the launch of the new site, adding: “The new Food Marketplace will help to support the success that has already been achieved through the plan for public procurement.
“It makes it easier for every public institution to assess themselves against the balanced scorecard.”