A significant percentage of the food sector in Wales is made up of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs), which has implications for the development of local supply chains and can bring benefits to the economy.
There has been much debate around the definition of 'local'. Some class 'local' as within 10 miles of their organisation, others as within their particular region and some as being within Wales. For the purposes of the Welsh Government's Local Sourcing Food & Drink Action Plan (2009), the definition of local is:-
"The purchasing of food and drink through various parts of the supply chain that are located as close to the point of consumption as reasonably possible in the light of the needs, resources and strategic priorities of the sourcing organisation."
The Welsh Government has produced the Opening Doors: SME Friendly Procurement Charter in 2004 to open up opportunities for SMEs. Public sector organisations and suppliers alike signed up to various commitments to increase opportunities for tendering and to make doing business together easier.
Defra have produced guidance on increasing opportunities for small and local producers in 2006. Further information on using local food and SMEs within the food sector has also been produced by the Soil Association Food and Farming.
It is important to ensure that local suppliers and producers comply with the necessary food legislation and food safety standards. It is also recommended that organisations request their suppliers of high risk products - especially local and regional suppliers / producers - to undergo a food hygiene audit, click here for details of the Public Sector Agreement for Food Hygiene Audits which is managed by Value Wales.
Developing local supply chains opens up opportunities for small Welsh producers.