Cutting the food miles

The second phase of 3663’s locally sourced product initiative in East Anglia has been launched, and the occasion was marked by staging a farmers’ market at 3663’s Stowmarket depot on June 19. Twenty suppliers from East Anglia show-cased approximately 200 new products available to 3663 customers in the region.

Vanessa Millard, marketing manager of 3663, said: “At 3663 we care about our suppliers and their products. We pride ourselves on maintaining the highest levels of due diligence and traceability to ensure the authenticity of this locally sourced range. Local sourcing is an exciting move for 3663 and an initiative we first launched in 2005. We already provide locally sourced products to customers in East Anglia, the South West and Wales, and will roll out across other regions soon.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly concerned about food miles and the environmental impact of the food they eat. Providing locally sourced food is a key objective in the public sector, and The Public Sector Food Procurement Initiative is a scheme designed to encourage the public sector in England to provide food in a manner that supports local sustainable development. Our local sourcing initiative will give our customers throughout the country access to locally sourced ranges, helping schools and hospitals meet their objectives as well as meeting increasing demand from pubs and restaurants.”

Among the 200 new products are handmade pies from Essex Larders, creams, yoghurt and ice cream from Suffolk Meadow, handmade chilled fishcakes from Walnut Tree Foods, and dairy and gluten free chutneys from Vineyard Fine Foods. 3663 will also offer local vegetables, and fresh meats when they are in season.

Robert Strathern from Fairfields Farm Crisps said: “The farmers’ market was a successful day for us and a good way to meet customers and relay our passion for our product. We grow the potatoes for our crisps on our farm and work with other local producers when sourcing ingredients to make sure our crisps are truly East Anglian. We teamed up with 3663 at Stowmarket because they are an established distributor who can help us access the right customers.”

East of England Development Agency board member, Edward Iveagh, said: “This excellent initiative by 3663 will open up new markets for locally-grown produce in the foodservice sector. The enthusiasm shown by both the company and its suppliers is tremendously encouraging.

“The 3663 project fits perfectly with EEDA’s own initiative, Eat East – Nearer, Fresher, Better, and highlights the fact that in the East of England we have some of the best food and drink, produced to very high standards of quality and traceability. This project will enable more people to taste good wholesome locally-grown food – benefiting producers, consumers and the environment.”

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