Feeding the cities with local food through the Twente Canteen
Did you know that most of our food comes from abroad? That it travels thousands of kilometres before ending up on your plate? It affects the environment and the local economy. Of course, not all of our food can come from our own local region because of capacity and the simple fact that not all food can grow in our Dutch climate. But we can raise awareness of where our food comes from and trying the best we can for a circular and sustainable food chain. How? With the Twente Canteen!
The Twente Canteen
The Twente Canteen is a project to persuade government agencies to let local produced food play an important role in their canteen. You can think of municipalities, healthcare institutions and universities. A number of government agencies in Twente are taking the first step. Regional produced food plays an important role in the new supply canteen for delivering products for the canteen by taking up the condition that 25% of the food is produced in the immediate vicinity.
Stimulating local food in the canteens have a couple of benefits:
➢ By setting the example with the Twente Canteen we are raising awareness for the importance to reduce steps in the food chain.
➢ Furthermore, we are creating awareness of the product and the possibilities of that product with the end-user.
➢ With the Twente Canteen we stimulate local economy
➢ By letting local produced food play an important role for the supply canteens, we create demand for the products which also lead to stimulation of the local economy.
The road to the Twente Canteen
The idea of the Twente Canteen originated with the Green Knowledge Portal. By working on the theme Agro & Food with stakeholders from the region, it became more and more clear that there was a need for more structure in the local produced food chain. Together with Twentse Streekproducten Organisatie and Stichting de Proeftuinen, Green Knowledge Portal applied for a Knowledge Voucher. That is a voucher that will allow you to investigate an idea in more depth.
Two consultancy firms investigated the idea in more depth. They had many interviews with different sorts of stakeholders such as producers and government. It gave them a clear picture of what is needed to succeed with the Twente Canteen. A student further investigated the marketing side of the project and developed a marketing plan.
Is it all that simple? The answer is no. The industry and therefore this project face different challenges. Producers are enthusiastic and looking for ways to meet demand. The big challenge is how to organise the logistics in a way which is efficient. Furthermore, it is important that producers are in the lead of the project and hold a grip on the market. After all, the big problem (or failure) of the current system is that sellers (the merchants) are the one that are able to make the real profit. The producers are getting barely their cost price.