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Property, Business and Regulatory Services

Food Purchasing in Hampshire

This information is updated regularly.

Wholesale Food Distributor

  • Hampshire County Council’s contracted wholesale food distributor is 3663 based in Downton near Salisbury. 3663 offers a wide range of dry, chilled and frozen goods which are delivered to our customers, including schools, in multi-temperature vehicles. 3663 also offers a backhaul service, which means they collect local foodstuffs when returning to Salisbury with empty vehicles, all of which helps increase efficiency and reduces food miles.
  • Waste cooking oil is now collected by Convert2Green, a leading bio-energy company, from HC3S-catered sites and is converted into Bio Diesel contributing to Hampshire’s CO2 savings.


  • All eggs used in Hampshire schools and other units are free-range, farmed to Laid In Britain standards and predominantly sourced locally from Fordingbridge. 3663 (our distributor mentioned above) and also our fruit and vegetable supplier, A G Axton & Sons, purchase eggs for their customers from the same farm.
  • Hampshire was the first County Council to receive an award from Compassion In World Farming for its efforts.
  • In 2013 Hampshire’s customers used 860,000 local free-range eggs.
  • We were instrumental in the producer, CSM UK, introducing free-range eggs to their cost sector specific catering mixes.
  • Our policy is to encourage all manufacturers using eggs as an ingredient to move to free-range as soon as possible, although there is now legislation aimed at enforcing this.


From the 1st November 2014 grated and block Cheddar cheese will be from Wyke Farms based in Somerset and is made from the milk of cows farmed in Southern England.  Wyke Farms sources from 68 farms in Somerset, 22 in Dorset, 9 in Wiltshire, and 1 in Devon.


  • Fish and fish products are from sustainable fish sources.
  • Our fish fingers and fish cakes are manufactured with a wheat and gluten free coating (made from rice and maize flour) allowing them to be given to coeliacs.

Coffee and Tea

  • The majority of coffee used is from Kraft (Kenco and Maxwell House) and is Rain Forest Alliance (RFA) certified.
  • Tea is from Tetley and is also supported by the RFA.
  • Fairtrade tea and fairly traded coffee are offered for all meetings in the Winchester HQ Castle complex and are sold in the staff restaurant.
  • The specialist coffee mainly available in our commercial outlets is from sustainable sources and some of it is RFA Certified.
  • All blend development takes place in Southampton for the blends used by our caterers and it is intended that roasting will also take place in Southampton by the end of 2015-16.
  • The specialist coffee producers contribute to the Community2Community Fund
Apples growing on a tree

Fruit Juices

  • We source our Apple Juice from a local Alton-based maker who produces Hampshire Apple Juice for schoolchildren in recyclable bottles (and other units in one litre packs for pouring). This potentially has the further attraction that children experience the taste of different apple juices as the year progresses – contributing to their understanding of seasonal growing. The fruit used is also principally locally sourced from Liss (Blackmoor Estate) and Droxford (Hill Farm) in Hampshire.  The manufacturer is in the process of planting its own orchards to become self sufficient in the future.
  • A range of Welsh-made natural mineral water based drinks are widely used in schools and the various fruit ingredients are from sustainable EU sources, with the exception of oranges which are from Brazil.

Gravy Powder

Gravy powder and crystals are made to our specification in Birmingham with reduced salt and are free from Monosodium Glutamate (MSG) and other additives.

Dairy and Morning Goods

  • All milk comes from Devon, Somerset, Dorset, Wiltshire and Gloucestershire.
  • Third pints are provided in recyclable bottles or paperboard Tetra Pak cartons made from responsibly sourced raw materials.
  • In schools Yeo Valley Organic Yoghurts from Somerset are used. The cattle are farmed in Blagdon, Somerset.
  • Flavoured Milk is produced by one of Ireland’s largest farmer owned dairy cooperatives.
  • We use Muller yoghurts which are made in Shropshire in many other establishments.  All the milk used is from Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.
  • We promote the use of UK frozen bread where required, mainly using UK flour.
  • All Artisan bakers are local.
  • We purchase ice cream from the New Forest using UK sourced ingredients wherever possible.


  • Beef Meatballs and Beef Burgers used on school meal menus are made from 50% West Country farmed beef and 50% organic beef from animals farmed in Overton.
  • Red Tractor Chicken Breast Fillets are sourced in the UK from UK reared meat. Cooked Diced
  • Chicken is also from British Red Tractor farmed poultry and prepared in a Grade A BRC factory.  
  • HC3S received a Good Farm Animal Welfare Award for it’s commitment to use higher welfare farmed chicken.
  • Lamb Meatballs, Minced Beef, Sliced Beef (Scottish Farm Assured) are all sourced from the UK.
  • UK Chicken Meat Grills, developed specifically for Hampshire County Council Catering Service (HC3S) with a wheat and gluten free coating, are used on  our menus (the meat is from Norfolk farmed birds).  This product was Highly Commended at the Free From Food Awards.
  • Cooked Diced UK Turkey Chunks come from Bernard Matthews farms in Norfolk.
  • Sliced Turkey used for school Christmas dinners is Red Tractor and British.  
  • For other non-schools sites, the main fresh meat butcher is Portsmouth-based and offers a fully traceable range that includes a ‘Southern Pride’ list sourced from Southern England and the butcher has EBLEX accreditation.


Hampshire has recently been awarded the Compassion in World Farming Good Pig Award. The awards programme works by recognising and rewarding various sectors for working in a sustainable and responsible way. The main criteria for this award is addressing the issues of confinement and the need for environmental enrichment (i.e. straw or other fibrous material for foraging and comfort) in breeding sows, and mutilations (i.e.) tail docking, castration and tooth clipping) and the need for environmental enrichment in meat pigs.  All of the meat sourced is Freedom Foods (RSPCA monitored) which ensures the following:

  • Freedom from hunger and thirst
  • Freedom from discomfort
  • Freedom from pain, injury or disease
  • Freedom to express normal behaviour
  • Freedom from fear and distress

This ensures that the Pigs have a quality of life, their mental wellbeing, physical wellbeing and natural living conditions are all of the highest standards resulting in fit and happy animals.

Pork Loin Slices are sourced in the UK from UK reared Freedom Foods Pork.

Sausages are made using English sourced Freedom Foods Pork, made to a BPEX Gold Award winning Southern Pride recipe.  In 2013, almost 2.2 million sausages were used in school meals.

Fruit and Vegetables

  • Local fruit and vegetables are used when in season and that includes apples and pears, peppers, squash, sweet corn, courgettes, beans, onions, asparagus, rhubarb, cabbages, cauliflowers, spring greens, leeks, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, lettuce, soft fruit, potatoes and watercress.
  • Some bananas are Fairtrade when available.
  • Frozen Potato products are sourced from McCain Foods who support the Assured Produce Scheme which promotes sustainable, environmentally responsible farming in the UK.

Bottled Water

All bottled water is from various UK producers. However, for sustainability reasons, we are encouraging users to convert to plumbed-in machines.


  • Cheese & Vegetable Bakes are made from ingredients sourced in the UK.
  • We have been able to introduce a Bean & Vegetable Bake, which is wheat and gluten free and is manufactured in Amesbury.
  • Vegetarian Sausages and Toad in the Hole are manufactured in Ringwood, Hants.
  • Quorn is sourced from Yorkshire.
  • Pizza Bases and Tasca Pockets are made in Midhurst, West Sussex using some local ingredients.
  • Panizzas are also made in Midhurst from good English strains of wheat with a little higher protein EU product. Panizzas also contain English grown Rapeseed oil.
  • Scotch and American Pancakes and Blinis are made from UK wheat flour, liquid egg and sugar and manufactured in Leeds.
  • Puff Pastry Squares are manufactured in the UK from EU grown wheat, rapeseed oil (some of which is from the UK), margarine (also manufactured in the UK) and salt produced in the UK. Palm Oil is Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil mass balanced which is permitted to claim that it ‘contributed to the production of certified sustainable palm oil’.
  • Yorkshire Puddings are produced in the UK (Hull) from UK wheat flour and other mainly UK ingredients.
  • Margarine certified for use by vegans is widely used across all menus and it is manufactured from sustainable palm oil (Green Palm Sustainability) in the UK.
  • Our entire range of fully-finished Pasta Sauces are manufactured in Newton Abbot, Devon.

Caster Sugar

All Caster Sugar used is Fairtrade.


Hampshire Fare

The Council is also a strong supporter of Hampshire Fare, the County food group which works with producers and farmers in Hampshire as well as shops, restaurants, schools, government agencies, the media and the public to heighten awareness and consumption of Hampshire’s quality produce.



In addition to being the only authority to have its school meal menus accredited by the Hyperactive Children’s Support Group (for having seventy additives removed from manufactured products), Hampshire is also the first county to be given a Compassion In World Farming award and, a plaque from the Campaign to Protect Rural England for its food sourcing achievements. Hampshire has also been the subject of food case studies published by the Institute of Grocery & Distribution, the Prince’s Charities, the Commission for Rural Communities and Food Vision and has been positively mentioned at the Seafish Seafood Awards.

The National Audit Office has previously commented on the level of “good practice”. Hampshire was commissioned by DEFRA to produce a DVD which has been distributed countrywide promoting the Rural Pathfinder Public Sector Procurement of Local Food Project, and the development of the local Apple Juice mentioned above, was the subject of a video made by the Federation of Small Businesses and shown at one of their National conferences.

  • In March 2011, HC3S (Hampshire County Council Catering Services) won the Healthy Schools Caterer Competition and in April 2011 HC3S was voted Cost Sector Educational Caterer of the Year.
  • In November 2011, HC3S received a Good Farm Animal Welfare Award for its commitment to use higher welfare farmed chicken.

In conclusion

Wherever the opportunity exists to support the UK economy our distributors work closely with us to achieve such an end whilst meeting legal requirements. Many other local and national suppliers have sought our guidance as to how they should best approach the local government school meals market. However, Hampshire always states that offering locally, regionally or UK sourced products offer so many benefits, but costs must be realistic and quality should remain in line with what is available elsewhere in the EU.


Further information

For further information, please contact:

Nigel Lacey – Purchasing Manager

Tel: (01962) 826912


Angela Kearns – Buyer (Food)

Tel: (01962) 826920


John Foskett – Food Development (Brokerage) HC3S  

Tel: (02380) 627728




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