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Council supports local food suppliers by trialling new regional produce vending machine

Herefordshire Council is encouraging staff and councillors to eat locally produced food in 2010 and is piloting a new vending machine concept to be launched at the council’s headquarters this month.  

The vending machine is part of a Savour the Flavour project run by Heart of England fine foods (HEFF), the regional food group for the West Midlands.
HEFF aims to make locally produced, quality food available to a wider public, raising consumer awareness of regional strengths and providing sustainable business opportunities to local food economies.

Savour the Flavour is the consumer facing brand provided by HEFF to promote regional food and drink. The vending machine has a chiller to keep food fresh and will be stocked with regionally produced food and drink including freshly made sandwiches and baguettes topped up and checked on a daily basis, cakes, biscuits, cold pastries, apple juice and smoothies.  HEFF has been working with the council’s contractor Amey Herefordshire to provide the facility in the council’s headquarters.

Herefordshire’s new vending machine will be located at the council and primary care trust’s Brockington site, which currently has no catering facilities for councillors who regularly attend meetings in the council chambers, or the 70 employees who are based there.  

To ensure products are good quality, all produce has to comply with HEFF’s own Hygiene and Food Safety Standard and has been consumer tested before being used.  A recycling bin will be installed alongside the vending machine for the glass bottles and sandwich packaging.

Councillor Adrian Blackshaw, chairman of the Herefordshire Food Partnership* and cabinet member for economic development and community services, said:  “We believe Herefordshire Council will be one of the first councils in the region to use local produce in such a way.  

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“The products will be good quality, healthy and priced competitively so anyone wishing to begin the New Year with a healthy eating regime will have no excuse, although there will be some home made cakes and biscuits included in the carousel for those who just can’t resist.  

“The council supports local business wherever it can and this is an excellent way of encouraging some of the county’s excellent food suppliers to develop and grow.

“The vending machine at Brockington is just the beginning and, if successful, the opportunities for further development are substantial so we are very excited about this project.”

HEFF chief executive Karen Davies said: “We are very pleased to be working with Herefordshire Council on this initiative to improve accessibility to quality, regional food and drink.  We hope that by highlighting the source of the vending products it will encourage people to continue to consider regional food and drink away from the council offices.”

Rhian Brown, Amey Herefordshire, said:  “We have tried to source as many products as possible from Herefordshire and surrounding county suppliers, but we would love to hear from anyone else locally who would like to be involved in this project. Please ring us on 01432 845900 or email catering@amey.co.uk.”

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