BaxterStorey has become the first contract catering company in the UK to begin using meat sourced entirely from within Britain.
For the last three years the caterer has ensured that all the lamb, beef, pork and poultry it prepares and serves carries appropriate Quality Assured certification and is acquired entirely from British farms.
In total these meat groups represent 95% of the fresh meat BaxterStorey, sourced from regional butchers throughout the UK, with the remaining 5% being bacon.
Since 2008, the caterer has been working with foodservice distributor Brakes to identify a UK-based supply chain which could fulfil its requirement for the final 5%.
As a result of this partnership, BaxterStorey is able to meet the demand for 6 million slices of bacon every year with Red Tractor quality assured produce from only British farmers.
John Bennett, managing director at BaxterStorey, explained that the need for quality ingredients was the reason behind the move: "For us this means using produce which has been reared to the highest standards and is not forced to travel across international boundaries for rearing or processing.
"Meat which moves from farm to fork in the speediest time means our chefs have the highest quality ingredients with which to create phenomenal food."
By sourcing all meat in the UK BaxterStorey also hopes to support the UK farming industry.
"Our success is dependent upon a thriving domestic agricultural market and we are determined to help UK farmers prosper," continued Bennett. "Our farming sector has suffered a torrid time over recent years. Take pig farming as an example, this has declined by 50% over the last decade alone in the UK.
Food and farming minister Jim Fitzpatrick welcomed BaxterStorey's decision and described it as good news for the British livestock industry: "I urge other caterers to consider the benefits of using home-grown food and drink from the many local producers in the UK.
"The Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative, which Defra runs, provides help and advice for small and local producers on how to tender for large public sector contracts."
The announcement comes hot on the heels of news from Compass Group that all fresh beef served in UK sites will, from October, be sourced in the UK.
By Janie Stamford
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