More local products in governmental company restaurants

06 October 2020 - Published by Hein Braaksma
The central and provincial governments in the Netherlands will offer more local and regional products in their company restaurants. That is what Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality has agreed with the deputies of eleven provinces. On 5 October they signed the greendeal 'Eten uit de Korte Keten' (Food from the Short Chain).

The government wants more locally produced food that has to travel a shorter distance before it ends up on the plate. This short chain is good for Dutch farmers and producers. The national and provincial governments want to set a good example with local products in their company restaurants. They call on other governments, companies and organizations to follow their example.

Farmers and consumers
Farmers can not ensure on their own that more locally produced food is consumed. They need other parties, such as governments and consumers. Subjects such as logistics (quantity and costs), security of supply, reaching consumers and the sales market are also important. Eating more local food creates more connection between the farmer and the citizen. In the course of time, the scaling up of production by farmers, urbanisation and the decrease in the agricultural labor force have created more distance between farmers and citizens. Consumers often do not know where their food comes from and farmers and horticulturists do not always feel appreciated. The aim is for consumers to appreciate food more and to become more aware of the impact of food production on our living environment. Local farmers and horticulturists can also earn more in this way.

Municipality of Groningen
A number of years ago (2017/2018), the municipality of Groningen already adopted this approach when tendering the caterer for their company canteens. 
The municipality of Groningen's Green Deal partner Dutch Cuisine was preceded by a pilot with De Streekkantine, with the aim of including local and regional products in the company's catering. De Streekkantine established contacts with regional producers of bread, dairy, eggs, cheese and vegetables, arranged the delivery and price agreements.

The experience resulted in a call for tenders with a high percentage of regional products. In addition, criteria in line with the local food policy were included: Healthy Ageing (health), Dutch Cuisine (sustainable food consumption) and Fairtrade. 

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