Hilton has switched its 67 hotels in England, Scotland and Wales to a consortium of family-run suppliers in a bid to boost quality and its environmental credentials.
After a successful trial that began in July, United Fresh Consortium has been selected to supply fruit and vegetables as well as dairy to the hotel company in a three-year deal worth £7m per annum.
Knud Bundgaard, area chef at Hilton UK & Ireland, who was instrumental in setting up the new arrangement, said Hilton had wanted to return to using fresh, local produce to get away from a generic hotel offer.
"We want to put quality and seasonality at the forefront of what we do and switching to a market supplier away from a contract supplier that never sees the physical product allows us to do this," he told Caterer. "It's also about making the job of our chefs more exciting and satisfying."
Hilton believes the switch to regional suppliers will reduce its carbon footprint and that it will receive better quality produce at lower prices. It's looking to strike similar regional supply deals for its meat and fish.
United Fresh Consortium consists of James Forsyth, Scotland Deli Fresh, North Loves, Midlands L Jalley & Co, London & the South-east A David & Co, South-west and South Wales. The partners decided to form a consortium after losing out in the past five years on national supply deals, which went to the bigger contract buying companies.
Christian Paynton, director of United Fresh Consortium, said: "Before, a company like Hilton simply wouldn't look at us for a national deal but the consortium allows us to compete."
Paynton said the group would now target four- and five-star restaurants and hotels.
By Chris Druce
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