NFU16: Our sustainable food service call


The call came on day one of NFU Conference at The ICC, Birmingham, where one of the main sessions focused on markets and featured speakers from McDonald’s and Bidvest Foodservice UK – both of whom have made efforts to improve their British farming supply chains.

The food service sector saw a growth of around 3% last year to give it a current value of £46.6bn, with all expectations showing continued growth. It buys £10 billion  worth of food a year, distributed across a huge range of catering outlets from oil rigs, sporting stadium, to corner cafes and high street restaurants. It is a diverse sector, where innovation is a driver.

Its key then, that the foodservice industry engage with the primary producers of their most important commodity, the food that they buy and sell.

This has been a difficult year for all of farming and we have seen volatile farm gate prices. Through the course of this the NFU has been working with a number of food service businesses to see improvements that have included moving to 100 per cent British lamb for Brakes and Sodexo.

Although the supply chains within food service are complex, the NFU is urging businesses to take account of their supply chains and communicate their needs to farmers.

The growth within the food service sector is a real opportunity for British agriculture and we wish to see all food service and hospitality businesses:

  • Using Red Tractor as a bare minimum for British sourcing
  • Sustainable sourcing models, which are transparent and create long term relationships
  • Clear labelling (where possible) of British sourcing and Red Tractor in store to customers
  • Regular dialogue with the NFU to understand industry challenges

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