20 December, 2019

Three-way collaboration for new school meat contract

HCL, the specialist school caterers in Hertfordshire, has entered into an innovative partnership with family-run butchers William White Meats (WWMeats) based in Purfleet, Essex, and with the national distributor, Bidfood, to supply school kitchens across Hertfordshire and its neighbouring counties with Red Tractor, UK-sourced fresh meat.

This three-way collaboration sees Bidfood making use of their existing depots to stock and distribute fresh, British meat from a small, local supplier to over 400 schools in the county. HCL schools will now benefit from the freshness of the products, closer links with a family-run business alongside the reduction in food miles due to the smaller number of vans on the road.

To mark the start of the new partnership with WWMeats and Bidfood, staff from HCL visited the butcher’s purpose-built unit for a tour: to learn about the provenance of products, meet in person, the founders of WWMeats and to taste some new dishes. The industrial-looking unit inside has a friendly and lively atmosphere. The family is still closely involved with the running of the business: Bill, who set up the business in 1983, Diane, his wife, who oversees HR, and siblings Tom and Rebecca, the current active Directors. It really is a family affair.

WWMeats has been supplying the education sector for over 25 years. 10 years ago, WWMeats pioneered supplying good value organic burgers for the school sector, supporting many to achieve the Soil Association’s ‘Food for Life Served Here’ at silver and above level. Now the company employs over 40 people and produces more than 1.6 million chicken fillets supplied per year, as well as a wide variety of high-quality, UK sourced meat. The ethos of the company is to make products tailored to an individual school contract. “It takes more time to work this way, but we like it, as it produces a better-quality product and makes our job interesting” says Tom White.

Andrew Sugden, Head of Procurement at HCL said: “Here at HCL we are excited to be able to work with a local family butcher whilst bringing corporate efficiency. We look forward to the partnership with William White, and Bidfood is eager to see where this can lead us, providing the best of both worlds. William White has a wealth of experience which HCL will benefit from and the quality of food they supply reflects the high standards we strive to achieve throughout the business”.

Rebecca Marks, Director of WWMeats said: “This collaboration marks a new era for us at William White Meats. By teaming up with Bidfood, we are now able to distribute our products to a whole new county. HCL understands the importance of working with suppliers who are experts in supporting their Food for Life goals. What’s more, by tapping into the vehicles that are already visiting HCL’s sites, we are reducing the carbon footprint. Education catering is our passion and we are thrilled to be selected.

Tom Emsley, National Account Manager for Education at Bidfood said: "We're delighted to have been able to facilitate this partnership between HCL and William White Meats, which will provide consistent, fully traceable and cost-effective meat products for their school menus.

"As a current supplier to Bidfood and a major supplier to the Education sector, coupled with their professionalism, standards and reputation within the industry, William White Meats seemed a natural choice to work in partnership with.

"The strength of our relationship to date has been down to clear and concise communication between all parties and we look forward to growing the range."