A health trust has reduced its food bill by up to a third with help from the Brighton and Hove Food Partnership.
As well as saving public money, the new policy of local sourcing has given a boost to food producers and suppliers in and around the area.
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has introduced the new food sourcing policy across 14 of its hospitals.
The trust said: “Now 85 per cent of the fresh food eaten by patients is sourced locally which has seen the trust cut its fruit and vegetable bill by 20 per cent and meat bill by 10 per cent.”
William McCartney, head of catering services at the trust, said: “We are very passionate about the importance of the link between healthy food and diet and the contribution it makes to the recovery of the patients.
“We’ve always said that using local suppliers has proved as cost effective as using national suppliers and brings benefits such as local employment.”
The trust’s new food policy includes programmes such as Plough to Plate and Field to Fork. These involve using the animal passport, meaning you can trace where your food came from.
The trust has also brought in menus using lesser-used meat cuts.
Since the change turnover at local market-garden grower JR Wholesale has increased 30 per cent after it won the contract to supply fruit, vegetables, salads and brassicas.
And turnover has risen 15 per cent at KD Catering Butchers enabling it to create more jobs and apprenticeship roles.
The trust’s food policy also incorporates the use of wonky seasonal fruits that do not meet supermarket standards.
Brighton and Hove Food Partnership is now calling on other public sector contractors to follow suit.
Chloe Clarke, a manager at the food partnership, said: “We’re excited to be working with Sussex Partnership Trust.
“They are planning to develop a new catering production unit which would have the capacity to provide food not just for their hospitals but for other major public sector contracts too.
“Their recent award in the food category of the NHS Sustainability Awards is a great tribute to William and his team.”
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