Fife Council and other local authorities across Scotland are set to benefit from a new £30 million food contract.
The deal is expected to produce average savings of 8.3 per cent on a wide range of dairy, chilled, dried and ambient foods.
And the contract also supports a range of social, economic and environmental benefits.
Commitments made by suppliers for Fife Council include apprenticeships and traineeships, work experience for school pupils, support for local food banks and sponsorship of community groups.
The contract was developed by Scotland Excel, the centre of procurement expertise for the local government sector, and will enable councils to purchase a wide range of foods for use in schools, nurseries, leisure centres, community centres, social work, council and civic buildings.
Julie Welsh, director of Scotland Excel, said: “The new groceries contract is designed to help councils make the most of their hard-pressed budgets.
“As well as supporting nutritious and affordable meals for schoolchildren and other service users, it is another example of how public procurement can deliver additional benefits to local areas.
“Procurement has become much more than just buying the best for the lowest price.
“Now more than ever, it’s about ensuring we can come together to deliver new and innovative ways of working together, delivering value for money, protecting vital frontline services and investing in the future.”
The new contract also supports innovative waste reduction initiatives and encourages suppliers to offer locally sourced products as part of the range of core products available to local authorities.
Among the suppliers servicing the contract are Kirkcaldy businesses Allan Wilson Snack Sales and catering food and drink supplier William Yule and Son.
The groceries contract is one of four food contracts developed and managed by Scotland Excel which saved councils an estimated £2.5m in 2015.
The contracts also help to create opportunities for Scottish food producers and meet the aims of the Scottish Government’s action plan to support Scotland’s hard-pressed dairy farmers.
Councillor Altany Craik and staff from Fife Council’s catering and cleaning and procurement teams recently joined around 70 delegates in Stirling to find out more about the Scotland Excel groceries contract.