Encyclopedia of Food and Agricultural Ethics

2019 Edition
| Editors: David M. Kaplan

Sustainable Food Procurement

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1179-9_626


This entry endeavors to give an overview of ethical issues relating to public procurement of food for the public sector – principally schools and hospitals, as well as care homes, prisons, and office canteens.

Public procurement has multiple objectives. Procurers must seek to buy food at an affordable price and delivered in adequate quantities and at the required time. Food must meet government nutritional and food safety standards.

Ethical issues are also often discussed under the concept of sustainable procurement, with reference being made to environmental, economic, and social sustainability.

The most important environmental considerations include protecting biodiversity, especially by introducing organic food, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, by reducing food miles or perhaps by reducing meat consumption.

The most important economic and social considerations include:
  • Promoting animal welfare

  • Supporting local food producers

  • Promoting better employment conditions...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Born, B., & Purcell, M. (2006). Avoiding the local trap scale and food systems in planning research. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 26(2), 195–207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Cleveland, D. A., Müller, N. M., Tranovich, A. C., Mazaroli, D. N., & Hinson, K. (2014). Local food hubs for alternative food systems: A case study from Santa Barbara County, California. Journal of Rural Studies, 35, 26–36.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cordts, A., Nitzko, S., & Spiller, A. (2014). Consumer Response to Negative Information on Meat Consumption in Germany. International Food and Agribusiness Management ReviewVolume 17 Special Issue: Food demand, diet, pp. 83–106. Retrieved from http://www.ifama.org/files/IFAMR/Vol%2017/v17iA.pdf#page=91.
  4. Dagevos, H., & Voordouw, J. (2013). Sustainability and meat consumption: Is reduction realistic? Sustainability: Science, Practice, and Policy, 9(2), 60–69.Google Scholar
  5. Davis, D., Hudson, D. (2011). Going local: Burlington, Vermont’s farm-to-school program. In Robert, S. A., Weaver-Hightower, M. B. (Eds.), School food politics: The complex ecology of hunger and feeding in schools around the world. New York: Peter Lang.Google Scholar
  6. Edwards-Jones, G. (2010). Does eating local food reduce the environmental impact of food production and enhance consumer health? Proceedings of the Nutrition Society, 69(4), 582.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fisher, E., & Corbalán, S. (2013). Fair trade and European public procurement: Legal principles and governance dynamics. Social Enterprise Journal, 9(1), 11–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Harper, P. (2009). Values for money: Rethinking the food system (Interview with Tim Lang). Clean Slate the Practical Journal of Sustainable Living No 71 Spring 2009. http://www.cat.org.uk
  9. Howard, P. H., & Allen, P. (2008). Consumer willingness to pay for domestic ‘fair trade’: Evidence from the United States. Renewable Agriculture and Food Systems, 23(03), 235–242.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Mikkelsen, B. E., & Sylvest, J. (2012). Organic foods on the public plate: Technical challenge or organizational change? Journal of Foodservice Business Research, 15(1), 64–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Muukka, E., Kuosmanen, L., Ylinampa, M., Blomquist, U., Kärkkäinen, I., Malaska, K., …, & Soininen, J. (2008). Local food in municipal catering – A survey of local food purchasing in Finnish municipalities. http://orgprints.org/15953/
  12. Persson Osowski, C., Göranzon, H., & Fjellström, C. (2013). Teachers’ interaction with children in the school meal situation: The example of pedagogic meals in Sweden. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behaviour, 45(5), 420–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Post, A., & Mikkola, M. (2012). Nordic stakeholders in catering for sustainability: Chasm between ideology and practice? British Food Journal, 114, 743–761.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. School Food Plan. (2014). School Food Standards. A practical guide for schools their cooks and caterers. http://www.schoolfoodplan.com/
  15. Sustainable Development Commission. (2005). Sustainability implications of the little red tractor scheme report by Levett-Therivel sustainability consultants. London: Sustainable Development Commission.Google Scholar
  16. Sustainable Development Commission. (2006). Looking back, looking forward lessons in choice editing for sustainability: 19 case studies into drivers and barriers to mainstreaming more sustainable products. London: Sustainable Development Commission.Google Scholar
  17. Willer, H., & Lernoud, J. (2017). The world of organic agriculture. Statistics and emerging trends. FIBL-IFOAM report, Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FIBL), Frick, and IFOAM – Organics International, Bonn. https://shop.fibl.org/CHen/mwdownloads/download/link/id/785/?ref=1.
  18. Winter, M. (2003). Embeddedness, the new food economy and defensive localism. Journal of Rural Studies, 19(1), 23–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Salford University Business SchoolManchesterUK