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Delivering innovation that helps members and customers stay ahead of the latest product and technology trends – coupled with some rock-solid savings – has won TUCO, The University Caterers Organisation, the Foodservice Cateys Procurement Team of the Year title.
Despite its strong heritage in the higher and further education sector, TUCO has a customer base covering all public sector catering operations – from NHS trusts and housing schemes to local councils.
Members are able to tap into TUCO’s 17 framework agreements with more than 200 suppliers, and last year benefitted from savings of £8.6m on a spend of more than £140m, which has doubled in the past five years.
But it’s some of the innovation delivered this year across four key themes that really sets TUCO apart from its competitors.
The first theme is environment and community. TUCO Local launched earlier this year to help members collaborate on the creation of bespoke agreements with local farmers and manufacturers, while an online greenhouse gas footprint calculator helps support customer demand for more sustainable menus.
The second area is helping TUCO members drive down prices.
A further competition service launched in May helps customers better manage the likes of spend analysis, product switching, product rationalisation and supplier streamlining. The University of Portsmouth says that using TUCO’s further competition service to rationalise its alcohol suppliers from several to one has saved it more than 20 hours of research and analysis.
Theme three – digitising the procurement process through the launch of TUCO Online – was more about bringing the education sector up to speed with the rest of hospitality. The service promises 50% time and 10% cost reductions to members through efficiency and transparent pricing.
The fourth innovation has been giving customers and members better market insight and trend data through the launch of TUCO Intelligence in February 2018.
Engaging members and helping them learn from one another has always been a major strength of TUCO, through its two conferences, study tours and the TUCO Academy. Given the combination of strong financial performance and innovation that supports its customers’ growth, it’s little wonder that the Foodservice Cateys judges were unanimously impressed.
What the judges said
“TUCO has firmly established itself as the market leader in the university sector and adds real value through market intelligence and study tours.”
Chris Durrant, commercial partner, the Litmus Partnership
“A dynamic organisation serving a number of diverse products. A deserved winner, showing a great level of procurement knowledge.”
Chris Mitchell, director, the Genuine Dining Co
“An outstanding procurement team who are supporting the hospitality industry while bringing the value of best-in-class products and services to life.”
Diana Spellman, managing director, Partners in Purchasing
“It’s terrific to be able to reward an organisation that touches such a range of companies. TUCO is very focused on its objective and illustrates how it truly adds value.”
Chris Stern, managing director, Stern Consultancy
Sunrise Senior Living
2017 Surrey County Council