Local economies: buying local & sustainable

🏆 FFLSH since 2014   🏫 14,200 meals daily in 151 primaries and 4 ASN schools

Aberdeenshire Council achieved the Food for Life Served Here (FFLSH) Bronze award in 2014. It serves 14,200 Bronze meals every day across its 151 primary schools and 4 ASN schools.

According to Lorna Murray, Catering Business Support Officer with Aberdeenshire Council, achieving the Bronze FFLSH award in 2014 was straightforward and achievable within existing frameworks. Councillors were interested in the award because Aberdeenshire was already committed to increasing the amount of local and sustainable ingredients in school meals.

The principles of “good food” fit with Aberdeenshire’s Local Outcomes Improvement Plan priorities to 2027, which include reducing child poverty and connected and cohesive communities, and a watching brief on obesity.

Shortening supply chains

The FFLSH award recognises excellence in sourcing local, sustainable and fresh produce. Lorna says, “It has cut down on food miles and we have got good local suppliers. If they are not local, they are definitely Scottish. The contracts have also definitely helped local businesses.

“TPS, for example, which was awarded the fruit and veg contract, had to employ extra staff to cope with demand from us and also from Aberdeen City, and it’s a contract for three plus years. Our councillors are pleased because they are able to reassure parents that we are procuring local produce and that we are also helping the economy of the shire.”

Aberdeenshire Council's provenance map showing exactly where its fresh Scottish produce comes from has created considerable interest, especially for the many parents who work in Aberdeenshire’s fishing and farming industries.

Lorna says, “We get people coming into schools who work in fishing and farming and we sometimes get questions about which waters the haddock come from (landed in the north east and processed at Whitehills).”

Supporting local business

The council achieved the Bronze award within its existing procurement frameworks. It has supported local companies to position themselves to tender for contracts as they become available.

As the leader of Aberdeenshire Council, Cllr Jim Gifford, said, “We are committed to buying the best quality food we can get, within the budgets we have.”

🥩 All meat comes from local butcher McWilliam (Aberdeen) Ltd and is mostly reared in the North East

🐟 Fish supplied through Brakes from Downies of Whitehills in Banff

🍏 Fruit and vegetables are supplied by TPS Fruit and Veg Ltd of Turriff

🌾 Other Aberdeenshire products such as oatmeal and rolled oats are supplied by Brakes

🍓 Soft fruits come from Tayside, supplied by TPS