Publication - Advice and guidance

Catering for change: buying food sustainably in the public sector

Guidance for anyone involved in the procurement of food or catering services in the public sector.

20 page PDF

490.6 kB

20 page PDF

490.6 kB

Catering for change: buying food sustainably in the public sector
Legal Background

20 page PDF

490.6 kB

Legal Background

Procurement legislation for the purpose of this guide includes, but is not limited to:

  • EU Treaty obligations
  • EU Procurement Directives
  • The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations
  • European Court of Justice and national case law

This legislation is intended, amongst other things, to protect and foster open and transparent public procurement across EU Member States.

This means, for example:

  • when selecting or pre-qualifying potential bidders, where they are located within the EU cannot be taken into account
  • when evaluating tenders, where the food originates or is processed cannot be taken into account
  • "food miles" i.e. the distance food travels, cannot be taken into account when evaluating competing bids

European Procurement Directive 2004/18/ EC clarifies how contracting authorities may contribute to the protection of the environment and the promotion of sustainable development, whilst obtaining the best possible value for money for their contracts. The Directive was implemented for Scotland by The Public Contracts (Scotland) Regulations 2006. The Scottish Sustainable Procurement Action Plan offers further advice on promoting sustainable development through procurement, and public bodies should make full use of the flexibility available to them to include sustainability issues in their food procurement activity.

Public sector food procurement can make a significant contribution towards economic, environmental, social, and health related objectives, including taking steps to encourage the involvement of smaller suppliers and improving the quality and health-giving properties of the food we buy.



Telephone: 0300 244 9802

Scottish Government
Food, Drink and Rural Communities
B1 Spur
Saughton House
Broomhouse Drive
EH11 3XD