Reframe: Our Third Report

29 June 2018 - Published by Hein Braaksma
A vibrant regional food economy, a good match between urban demand and regional supply, innovative SMEs and engaging urban consumers: those are the goals Reframe works. Reframe does that in parts of Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden. And Reframe can do this through the support of the North Sea Region. Every six months Reframe reports to the North Sea Region on its progress. This week Reframe submitted its third report.

In the Third Reporting period Reframe helped regional suppliers to gain insight in and access to regional demand. In many places, these insights enabled the development of new solutions and smart specializations. Through these SMEs are able to cater to regional, urban demand. Thus, for instance SMEs were helped with participation in a procurement procedure, were helped with their own regional sourcing and were stimulates to cooperate with other, related SMEs. 

On the demand side, Reframe focused on creating a stronger and more sustainable demand for food produced by regional SMEs. Also, here, new possibilities were made available to (large scale) consumers. Awareness with stakeholders and policy makers was raised through a position paper. And consumers were stimulated in their interest in and demand for regionally produced food. 

In Germany a new beneficiary, the Landkreis Wesermarsch, joined Reframe. Transnational communication gained speed and impact with the new communications team, coordinated by Groningen. With a more durable presence on social media and through the Online Reference Center Reframe, its solutions and the challenges which it addresses got more and wider attention.


Online Resource Centre

This period the Online Resource Centre went live and a growing number of best practices are shared there. Discussing these and other practices, use-cases and challenges in the second Reframe Conference in Ghent bore fruit in more comprehensive support measures and models. Here also the collaboration with research institutions, both inside and outside the project, has been fruitful.

On this basis more transnational exchange can and should take place, including reviewing each other’s best-practices. Next period Reframe will put more effort in disseminating the support measures realized.

Regional cooperation for innovation

Reframe believes in cooperation based on a shared ambition. Partly inspired by each other, many regions have set up regular meetings between regional suppliers, large scale consumers and distributors. In these meetings SMEs gain more knowledge about the criteria large scale consumers and distributors use. Large scale consumers and distributors gain more insight in the potential and quality that regional SMEs can offer. 

The Municipality of Groningen also focused on the further implementation of the own catering deal, with 50% regional products. The Municipality of Groningen sees this as an effective Regional Food Deal and stimulates other large-scale consumers to follow.

Meanwhile the network meetings in the Groningen region opened for Gebiedscooperatie Westerkwartier the window to the opportunity to get some lost processing steps back into the region. The next year we will do a feasibility study to the business case if we can restore the processing industry in a sustainable and cooperative way.

In Denmark the food frame established on Laesoe as a result of the REFRAME activities has decided to move on with the execution of initiatives identified during the mapping of potentials. Marketing of meat produced on the island via a slaughter shop has initiated and convenience products of Laesoe origin on the ferry has been initiated. In addition to meat production on the Nature 2000 pasture on the island, stakeholders have been identified to establish vegetables production.

In Sweden, the cooperation between the food chain ICA Maxi, the federation of Swedish farmers (LRF), Lokalproducerat i Väst and Agroväst can be seen as our try-out Regional Food Deal between large scale consumers and regional suppliers.

In Germany, the Diakonie has set up a cooperative arrangement between them and "Milch Hof Diers", starting with milk products such as yoghurt in special new packaging format and is developing it further; Diakonie has started the Cooperation with regional organic dairy Hof Butendiek about organic cheese products.

Responsible urban consumers

Reframe stimulates large scale urban consumers to prepare and formalize decision making on urban food policies and express intentions for regional sourcing. 

In the Netherlands, the Municipality of Groningen is a large scale urban consumer, has expressed their intentions for regional sources and based their procurement for a catering company on this ambition. The result is a catering deal, with 50% regional products. Meanwhile, Gebiedscooperatie Westerkwartier is in close contact with large scale urban consumers via the purchasing platform Groningen and presents the possibilities and social impact of regional sourcing here. 

In Flanders the Reframe beneficiaries stimulates the Association of Flemish Cities and Municipalities and Flemish Center for Agro- and Fisheries Marketing to set up guidelines for SME's and institutional kitchens to facilitate the involvement of local SME's in local procurement. During the next report period a meeting is planned to start up workgroup around this topic. 

In Sweden, the most progress is made in the private sector, where nine ICA Maxi supermarkets have made a corporate effort to increase regionally produced food in their stores. The supermarkets have together created a way of marketing, carefully drafted criteria for selection of producers and made an activity plan for introduction and implementation. The hospitals in West Sweden have now expressed their intention to follow this example and to buy regionally produced potatoes from the natural resource schools in the region. Test deliveries is made to one hospital.

In Denmark the municipality of Laesoe has formulated a food policy and continuously facilitates the activities of the food network of Laesoe. To influence policy towards regionally produced food, on a national level, Taste of Denmark has become a member of the branch organization, FødevareDanmark (

In Germany the Diakonie is a itself a large scale consumer. The Diakonie prepared and formalizes its decision-making process for regional sourcing and started the cooperation with regional suppliers and has done political promotion for the innovation house at Berne on federal state level and informal round table talks for regional politicians in Wesermarsch County Council.

New specialization strategies

Reframe helps food related SMEs to find and develop smart specialization options. Many of these options can be seen as a part of a Regional Supply Proposition.

In the Netherlands the Municipality of Groningen has done so for instance through the label Dutch Cuisine and through the Green Peper Award, which has been awarded to a regional seeds network. The Gebiedscooperatie Westerkwartier tries to develop smart specializations within several product groups. I.e. beef, cheese and pork. We organize meetings with different links out of the product chain and work together on new regional business models. The Cooperative Westerkwartier has a coaching role during these meetings. Also, the Gebiedscooperatie made steps towards starting the beef cooperative and are thus working on business innovation through smart specialization.

In Flanders 6 information sheets support SMEs to develop their specialization in such a way that they can reach service level agreements with institutional kitchens. Information is available on: registration at federal agency of food safety, HACCP, labeling, criteria for microbiological analyses, registration in trust box.

In Sweden Reframe beneficiary Lokalproducerat i Väst AB (LPIV) with its 300 registrered SMEs can be seen as a form of "Regional Supply Proposition" also their concept "Taste of West Sweden". Through LPIV the regional supply of the 300 SMEs is marketed via their website, at mini fairs, in sales binders etc. LPIVs knowledge about the regional demand is shared with the SMEs via activities such as counselling and seminars. 

Also, the Swedish partners have been working with 26 companies to help them develop smart specialization options that will strengthen the Regional Supply Proposition. The companies belong to the following categories: Dairy (14 SMEs), Vegetables (4 SMEs), Beverages (3 SMEs), Poultry (1 SME), Charcuterie (1 SME), Seafood (2 SME). has entered collaboration with a distribution operator allowing distribution to consumers all over Denmark within 17 hours. A strategic alliance was also established with the food specialty retail shops, the idea being that these specialty retail shops could serve as inlet and outlet hubs of distribution.

In Germany regional farmers and a regional dairy started the food services business and created their own business model; innovation house Berne is starting; inclusive "Cafe Mitmensch" is launched; regional shop "Tante Emma" with local products is in preparation of getting started

Insight in supply and demand

Reframe gives regional stakeholders insight in regional food supply and demand. In the Netherlands the Municipality of Groningen did so with a Position Paper. Meanwhile the Gebiedscooperatie Westerkwartier calculated the demand in several products of the city of Groningen and the urban field of Groningen. In Flanders an informative website and an apprehensive web application were built to distribute the information sheets and give local farmers, institutional kitchens and consumers a more comprehensive insight in regard to local supply chains.

In Sweden the beneficiaries compiled and updated previously collected data on demand and supply, and on existing knowledge within the partnership. The main task has been to analyze the data and identify mismatches on an overall level. Volumes and products that the consumers requests, change faster than the mapping can take into account. Especially when it comes to customers in the private sector. The mismatch when it comes to B2B most often relate to communication between buyers and sellers, different systems, business creativity of the manufacturers, as well as logistics, volumes and price. This is also often the case when it comes to public procurement. On a product category level, we have the biggest mismatch in vegetables, of which we have a much higher demand than supply. 

In Denmark a publication for a journal on agro-economy is being prepared to give stakeholders insight in regional food supply and demand. The publication is based on the case of the island of Laesoe to document the community gain of the regional REFRAME approach. The food networks of Langeland, Aerø and Mors have decided not to proceed with the REFRAME project. 

In Germany the Diakonie Oldenburg has settled profound data base of current volumes and quality standards of regional food supply and the demand of public and semipublic organizations with greater catering infrastructure and discussed the matching issues / targets to be achieved in order to get a solid food deliverable infrastructure. This data has to be shared with stakeholders.