The key to a low cost in providing a school meals service is not to reduce the food cost but to increase sales and thus spread staff and other overheads further.
Ian Crook, business services manager
Bath and North East Somerset Council
Good for local enterprise and sustainability
"The results of both case studies suggest that there are substantial economic and social benefits to be gained from public procurement practices which focus on a sustainable agenda around seasonal and local produce." (Kersley, 2011, p.29)
Social and economic benefits
- The new economics foundation's (nef) Social Return on Investment (SROI) research was carried out in Nottinghamshire and Plymouth. They found that the share of ingredient spend on seasonal, local produce had risen dramatically as a result of adopting FFLP practices, by a nominal £1.65 million in Nottinghamshire and £384,000 per year in Plymouth (Kersley, 2011, p.2).
- The SROI calculation found that over £3 in social, economic and environmental value was created for every £1 spent. This does not take account of any of the health, educational or cultural benefits of a whole-school approach to food which are the primary objectives of FFLP. Adding these benefits would result in a substantially higher return on investment (Kersley, 2011, p.2).
- The greatest share of the benefits is experienced by local businesses – wholesale and primary producers – in the form of greater business security and, especially, enhanced local presence which leads to additional contracts and income. Of the total £5 million of benefit generated, around £3.6 million (69%) accrues to local suppliers (Kersley, 2011, p.25).
- Further benefits accrue to local employees through additional jobs, improved job security and enhanced wellbeing (Kersley, 2011, p.25).
- nef also looked at the multiplier effect of procuring a higher share of ingredients for school meals from the local economy. The multiplier calculation, based on the ratio of the initial injection of money to the local economy and the total circulation of that money within it, shows that currently for every £1 spent initially from the Nottinghamshire school meals budget on seasonal, local ingredients, a further £1.19 of economic activity is being generated (Kersley, 2011, p.27)