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Well bread

The Real Bread Campaign has begun work to help put more Real Bread on the Menu of more hospitals.

Hospital patients are some of the people most in need of healthy nutritious food and you, being a taxpayer, pay for what they eat.

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The current situation

When making purchasing decisions, NHS Trusts turn to a database of audited suppliers, referred to as the framework. When an invitation to tender for a new bread supply contract is published, companies listed on the framework have a head start in the process as they have been vetted already.

At present (November 2011) the framework lists just 19 suppliers in the ‘bread, milk, cream and morning goods’ category. We have contacted the NHS Supply Chain’s buyer for this category, who told us that they are always keen to find new local suppliers.

In October 2012, the Health Secretary announced new standards 'setting out what patients should expect from NHS hospital food.' When it comes to bread, can we trust that catering managers will adhere to the principle that food being 'nutritious and appetising' is now 'essential'?

NHS Supply Chain criteria

In order for a food supplier to be considered for a framework listing, the enterprise must meet the following:

  • BRC food safety audit - grade A*
  • Offer competitive pricing (no guidance available for what constitutes ‘competitive’)
  • Make its accounts available during a due diligence process to prove its financially viability
  • A professional operation able to maintain a regular supply in sufficient volume (this will vary by Trust but rules out homebakeries and many other microbakeries) that is consistent in quality

*If the enterprise does not have this, it will need to pass an NHS audit.

Better bread

Though purchasing decisions are made by individual NHS Trusts, each of which will have its own requirements. The Real Bread Campaign sees this as a real opportunity for:

  • More patients being offered high-quality, additive-free loaves
  • More taxpayers’ money going to independently-owned food businesses that create more skilled jobs for local people
  • Shorter delivery distances between bakeries and hospitals
  • More local food producers (e.g. cereal farmers and traditional and other independent millers) to be able to feed into the NHS Supply Chain via Real Bread bakeries that use their ingredients.
  • More loaves being made with higher fibre flour, lower levels of salt, and without added fat or sugar
  • More Real Bread made with organically produced ingredients

The set of suggested bread procurement criteria we have produced for schools has points that we would also like to see adopted by NHS Trusts.

How to get involved

If your bakery makes what the Campaign calls Real Bread, and meets the NHS Supply Chain criteria above, please email realbread [at] with:

  • Your name
  • Bakery name
  • Bakery Address
  • Contact details

We’ll put you in contact with the NHS Supply Chain’s category buyer to begin the application process for a Category listing. He will also be able to answer any questions you might have about supplying the NHS.


We would love to publish cases studies to help inspire other hospitals, so if your hospital bakes Real Bread from scratch or buys it in from a local independent bakery, please get in touch.  realbread [at]

Darlington Memorial Hospital

February 2011

Local sourcing but not Real Bread. Buys loaves and rolls from independent bakeries in Bradford and just outside Darlington, but has been unable to name any products made without the use of artificial addtives. 

Real Bread Campaign: The Real Bread Campaign finds and shares ways to make bread better for us, better for our communities and better for the planet. Whether your interest is local food, community-focussed small enterprises, honest labelling, therapeutic baking, or simply tasty toast, everyone is invited to become a Campaign supporter.

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Real Bread Campaign
C/o Sustain
The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

The Real Bread Campaign is a project of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.

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