The “Local food and resource wisdom for public catering” project aims to enable the use of locally produced food by public sector catering services in Finnish local authority areas. It includes identifying availability, purchase price and logistics-related obstacles to the procurement process, and eliminating them in co-operation with the municipal procurement centre, online wholesale distributors and producers. Recipes and product development based on locally produced ingredients are another aspect of the project, in which producers, kitchen staff and customers are all involved. Another aim is to make decision-makers aware of the impact of local food use on the regional economy.

The project is being administered by the Jyväskylä University of Applied Sciences. Other partners include the city-owned catering service Kylän Kattaus and the municipal procurement centre. A combined school and day care centre in Vesanka will form the basis for the pilot and will use local roach fish and carrots. The project will involve the creation of a duplicable operating model based on the production chains for carrots and processed roach. The environmental impact of processed roach will be monitored using life-cycle calculations.

A report published in 2012 on the impacts of food production on Central Finland’s regional economy noted that the public catering sector sourced only around five percent of its food products from the region. As a result, the report recommended the drafting of clearly defined rules for the procurement of food products, emphasising the requirement that tenders must be economically advantageous overall and leaving leeway for the local interpretation of such a rule. The inclusion of locally produced food in tendering processes will require the adjustment of procurement practices and quality issues related to food products, such as delivery times, freshness and life-cycle costs. In addition, environmental impacts must be included in the criteria for assessing the most advantageous economic options.

The related supply problems concern volumes of local production in particular. On the other hand, procurement of small batches from around the Central Finland region poses challenges to competitive tendering, procurement and the delivery of ingredients. Professional kitchens lack the resources required for finding local sources and ordering products separately from a number of suppliers. In addition, the further processing of local ingredients is an issue that needs to be addressed, because professional kitchens cannot accept unwashed root vegetables or ungutted fish. On that note, the Local food and resource wisdom for public catering project is using a network-based approach and an online wholesale store system, as well as creating logistics solutions that will enable the delivery of locally produced ingredients to public kitchens in a cost-effective and timely manner.

The project forms part of the Towards Resource Wisdom project entity, which is being jointly implemented by Sitra and the City of Jyväskylä.  Improving the resource-efficiency of catering services will not only increase ecological sustainability and reduce emissions, but will also have other benefits, such as improving economic and social well-being in the region. Energy-efficiency improvements and lower transport costs will boost the local economy and foster self-sufficiency.

Appreciation of local and organic food and a considerable increase in demand for such food are also creating new business opportunities relating to untapped ingredients and partnerships.

Local food and resource wisdom for public catering (PDF in Finnish)

Further information:

Project Manager Leena Pölkki
leena.polkki(at)jamk.fi, tel. +358 50 4011 894

Contact us

What's this about?