Reframe Sixth Report

05 February 2020 - Published by Hein Braaksma
The development of regional food chains is increasingly taking shape. While doing so, REFRAME partners have been working on different solutions for challenges that occur while developing a sizeable regional food market – and share these during the transnational REFRAME conferences.

Partners are teaming up with different organizations in order to build and expand the community on healthy, sustainable and regional food. Large purchasers, initially healthcare institutions, indicate that they will willingly cooperate in such a food chain. Furthermore, farmers, producers and other stakeholders are continually showing interest in participating in such a food chain, signing letters of intent and joining meetings to discuss viable options.
New clients, such as supermarkets and institutional kitchens, come into contact with SMEs during workshops, B2B fairs and networking events, which has already shown a positive impact on the turnover of local products supplied by these SMEs. REFRAME helps food related SMEs to find and develop smart specialization options and to cooperate in a regional network. Best practice reports have been published in the online resource centre on the REFRAME website which describe such smart specialization strategies. Furthermore, partners have continued working on a durable transnational training and learning network where SMEs can meet with different stakeholders where best practices are shared and results and insights of the project are disseminated.
The support from the public and government institutions is continually growing for regional food markets, as position papers are being presented to local governments, and the public debate about sustainability and food supply continues. Concerns from branch organisations regarding the potential loss of a large variety of choice in stores and supermarkets are being countered by local SMEs and their efforts to cooperate in order to gather a variety of products. The increased turnover of local products shows new consumer commitment and therefore great potential for success for more food related SMEs as they join the regional food networks.
In order to facilitate the transnational exchange of knowledge and to improve transnational understanding, a questionnaire on structural characteristics had been filled in by all the partner regions.
The answers revealed significant differences in the food landscape between the regions, and knowing about these differences helps to transfer best practices from one region to another which in turn will strengthen the food cooperatives that are being created during this project.