FOOD and drink companies in Wales can access free one-to-one support to capitalise on major procurement opportunities in the public sector.
As part of its innovative Larder Cymru project, Menter Môn is targeting up to 50 producers and processors from across the country and rolling out mentoring and guidance sessions for successful applicants.
Funded by Welsh Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development (EAFRD), the scheme is focused on coordinating and strengthening relations within local supply chains to position regionally produced food and drink as a compelling proposal for large contracts nationwide.
Larder Cymru Project Manager Dafydd Jones said: “To complement this, interested parties can get in touch with us for one-to-one sessions where we can offer guidance and support on a range of issues, from procurement to marketing, supply chains and monitoring social value.
“These sessions will be crucial as we move forward as we will be able to explore how public sector opportunities benefit their organisation, gauge how much experience and expertise they have and establish key next steps, including an action plan, training and milestones.”
He added: “We are working with public sector purchasers, procurement officers and catering managers in a range of different organisations to understand their supply chain requirements and how we can bridge the gap for independent suppliers.
“We are also in discussions with wholesalers and looking at how small businesses can join forces to be included in tenders for bigger opportunities that would previously have been unavailable to them.
“The project’s overall aim is to strengthen support within the local supply chain to position locally produced food and drink so that it is a compelling proposal for large supply contracts.
“The project also looks at lowering the sector’s carbon footprint, increasing profitability for independent businesses in Wales and working towards a more supportive and sustainable arena for producers and the public sector.”
Menter Môn will continue to deliver community-driven, innovative projects that have a direct impact on communities in Wales, according to Dafydd.
“This is an example of an initiative that will have a huge effect on small businesses and independent suppliers in Wales while at the same time making a big impact nationally,” he said.
“By developing shorter supply chains, it will provide the opportunity for food producers and suppliers to go for bigger contracts, the produce will travel a shorter distance – providing environmental and financial benefits, notably given fuel price hikes – and this will in turn have a knock-on effect for employment and local industry.
“We add value by working with businesses, trainers and accreditors and referring the suppliers to the right people at the right time, ensuring communication channels are seamless and progress is made.
“If their products and services complement each other we can give them the best platform to secure contracts that will make a positive difference to local economies, the environment and communities across Wales for years to come.”
Larder Cymru attended the LACA – The School Food People Public Sector Catering expo held during the summer, where they were joined by leading food companies Henllan Bakery, Llaeth y Llan, Harlech Foodservice and Plas Farm, showcasing their produce to food buyers within the public sector ahead of further events later this year.