Food Sourcing

Hampshire County Supplies Food Purchasing

Wholesale Food Distributor

  • Hampshire County Council’s contracted wholesale food distributor, Bidvest, is based near Salisbury, and offers a wide range of dry, chilled and frozen goods which are delivered in multi temperature vehicles.
  • Bibvest also offers a backhaul service, which helps increase efficiency and reduce food miles. 
  • Waste cooking oil is collected for recycling.


  • Since 2008 all eggs used in Hampshire schools and other units are free-range, farmed to ‘Laid In Britain’ standards and predominantly sourced locally from Fordingbridge.
  • In 2012 Hampshire's customers used 840,000 local free-range eggs.
  • Bidvest source their own free-range eggs from various suppliers, all UK certified.


  • Grated and block cheddar cheese is principally from Taw Valley, Devon and is made from the milk of cows farmed in Southern England, including Hampshire.


  • 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.
  • Specialist coffee mainly available in our commercial outlets is from sustainable sources and some of it is RFA Certified.

Fruit Juices

  • Apple juice is sourced from an Alton-based maker who produces Hampshire Apple Juice for schoolchildren in recyclable bottles (and other units in one litre packs for pouring).
  • The fruit used is locally sourced from Liss in Hampshire.
  • 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.

Fruit and Vegetables

  • Local fruit and vegetables are used when in season and that includes apples, cabbages, cauliflowers, spring greens, leeks, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, lettuce, soft fruit, potatoes and watercress.
  • Some bananas are Fairtrade when available.
  • Frozen potatoes are sourced from various producers; all are UK based.


  • Cheese & Vegetable Bakes are made from ingredients sourced in the UK.
  • Bean & Vegetable Bake is wheat and gluten free, and made in Amesbury.
  • Vegetarian sausages and Toad in the Hole are produced in Ringwood, Hampshire.
  • Quorn is sourced from Yorkshire.
  • Our entire range of full-finished pasta sauces are made in Newton Abbot, Devon
  • Pizza bases, Tasca Pockets and Panizzas are made in Midhurst, West Sussex using some local ingredients.
  • Scotch, American Pancakes and Blinis are made from UK wheat flour, liquid egg, sugar and manufactured in Leeds.
  • Puff pastry squares are manufactured in the UK from EU grown wheat, rapeseed oil (some from the UK), UK manufactured margarine and salt produced in the UK.
  • Yorkshire puddings are produced in Hull from UK wheat flour and other mainly UK ingredients.
  • Margarine certified for use by vegans is widely used across all menus and is made from sustainable palm oil in the UK.

Dairy and Morning Goods

  • A proportion of the milk used comes from Hampshire dairy farms and the balance from West Sussex, Somerset and Wiltshire.  All bottling takes place in Southampton and third pints are in recyclable bottles.
  • Yeo Valley Organic Yoghurts from Somerset have been used in schools since November 2012.  The cattle are farmed in Blagdon, Somerset.
  • Muller yoghurts made in Shropshire are used in many other establishments.  All the milk is used from Shropshire or surrounding areas.
  • Flavoured milk is produced in Northern Ireland.
  • We promote the use of UK frozen bread where required, mainly using UK flour.  All bakers are local.
  • We source ice cream from the New Forest using UK sourced ingredients wherever possible.


  • In May 2011 beef meatballs, made from animals farmed in Overton, were added to the menus in Hampshire schools. 
  • A purely British beefburger using mainly meat from Laverstoke Park is used on school meal and commercial menus as and when required.
  • Red Tractor Chicken Breast Fillets and Pork Loin Slices are both made 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.
  • Sausages using some Hampshire pork were introduced in February 2010.  These were made to a BPEX Gold Award winning Southern Pride recipe.  All pork used is from south coast farm sources and in 2012, almost 2m were used
  • Lamb meatballs, minced beef, sliced beef (Scottish Farm Assured) are all sourced from the UK.
  • UK chicken meat grills, developed specifically for HC3S with a wheat and gluten free coating, were introduced to our school menus in December 2010 (the meat is from Norfolk farmed birds).  This product was Highly Commended in the 2011 Freefrom Food Awards.
  • Cooked diced UK turkey chunks, from Bernard Matthews farms in Norfolk was introduced in January 2011 and sliced turkey was used for school Christmas dinners in 2012 and 2013.
  • 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 who have EBLEX accreditation.

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.

Caster Sugar

  • With effect from July 2010 the Caster Sugar used is Fairtrade.

Hampshire Fare

  • The Council is a strong supporter of Hampshire Fare, and of the South East England Food Group Partnership.