Vol. 6 No. 1 (2019): Special Issue: Food procurement

two peope weighing pears in a fruit bin during a backyard harvest

Food procurement involves the acquisition of food, often through a tendering process, whether in the public, private, or third sector. Within the public sector, food procurement covers a range of institutions, such as schools, universities, hospitals, and prisons. In the private sector, large corporations such as Google purchase food for on-site cafeterias. And in the third sector, non-profit organizations such as FoodShare and The Stop buy food for meal programs and cooking classes. The leveraging capacity of procurement is supported by the fact that public-sector catering in a country like the UK represents seven percent of total food expenditure, with the National Health Service being the single largest purchaser of food. The history of public food procurement can be seen as “a story of untapped potential.” Private and third-sector procurement share this potential to unleash what has been termed “the power of the public plate.” The sheer volume of food purchased through food procurement programs carries enormous possibilities for the evolution of food systems. As Morgan and Morley (2014) observe, food procurement is a powerful instrument for creating social, economic, and environmental change.

Published: 2019-01-12