Somerset producers fight to feed the Hinkley thousands

Burnham and Highbridge Weekly News: Malcolm Pyne from Pyne's of Somerset in North Petherton. Malcolm Pyne from Pyne's of Somerset in North Petherton.

A GROUP of Somerset producers have formed a company to compete for the expected £80million spend on food and drink during the period of construction of Hinkley Point C.

At its peak, Europe’s largest construction site will see more than 8,000 meals served each day.

A board of directors has been formed for the Somerset Larder including Greg Parsons (Cricketer Farm, Nether Stowey), Paul Marsh (D J Miles, Minehead and Porlock), Malcolm Pyne (Pyne’s of Somerset, North Petherton), John Cottrell (Gundenham Dairy, Wellington), Vince Pearson (Taylor Shaw) and Mark Druitt (Cossey Produce, Bridgwater).

Greg Parsons, MD of cheesemaker Cricketer Farm, said: “The sheer scale of supply required by EDF Energy provides a huge challenge. The only solution was a collaboration between all interested producers and the resulting formation of Somerset Larder, a company that can provide a central food hub for all Hinkley Point C’s catering contractors.

“Served exclusively by local food and drink businesses, should Somerset Larder secure the contract then this will provide a huge, long-term boost for the county’s economy.”

The formation of Somerset Larder is a result of EDF Energy’s procurement strategy for Hinkley Point C, which has been to partner with Somerset Chamber of Commerce to identify local businesses wanting to become part of its supply chain.

More than 50 Somerset food and drink businesses have registered their interest.

Rupert Cox, CEO of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: “Our resulting online Hink-ley Supply Chain portal, as well as the meetings and introductions we’ve facilitated have brought direct economic investment and job creation to the county.”

A Somerset Larder ‘traineeship’ scheme is also set to launch around April, in partnership with Bridgwater College.

The Somerset Larder Board of Directors is now focused on establishing the food hub and engaging the select group of Somerset food and drink businesses involved to ensure a successful roll out of services in 2014.

At peak construction the site will need to be provided with 1.5m eggs, half a million kilos of meat, fish, vegetables and fruit, 20 tonnes of cheese and 1.2m tea bags.

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