To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of all food procured for his Department was sourced from (a) British producers, (b) small and medium-sized enterprises and (c) producers which met British buying standards in the latest period for which figures are available.
For armed forces personnel serving on operations, overseas exercises and Her Majesty's ships there is a single food supply contract with Purple Foodservice Solutions Ltd (PFS). PFS lists approximately 1,150 different food-related items for the armed forces in the core range price list. Currently, they estimate that approximately 60% of lines listed, excluding fresh produce, are sourced from suppliers within the UK. The percentage of UK produced goods changes regularly as a result of seasonality, value for money incentives and changes of supplier.
Ministry of Defence (MOD) personnel in the UK and permanent bases overseas are primarily catered for through a number of catering, retail, leisure and other multi-activity contracts to deliver catering and other services. Information on the proportion of food procured from UK food producers under these arrangements is not held by the MOD.
The MOD is bound by European Union public procurement directives which demand fair and open competition for all food contracts involving the expenditure of public funds. The directives do not permit the MOD to specify only British products or to only source products from a particular region.
All food procured for MOD personnel must comply with MOD food quality standards. These standards comply with all UK and EU production standards, Farm Assurance or equivalent.