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Local supplier helping Kent school children acheive 5-a-day

Thursday 18 June 2009

NHS Supply Chain appoints Thanet Earth to supply tomatoes to Kent schools

Hundreds of school children in Kent will receive free tomatoes from Kent supplier, Thanet Earth, from today as part of the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme operated by NHS Supply Chain.

The Government run scheme is designed to increase school children’s consumption of fruit and vegetables and is the biggest programme to support children’s nutrition since the introduction of free school milk in 1946.

NHS Supply Chain, the largest supplier of goods to the NHS, is responsible for overseeing the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme for the Department of Health. It sets out to offer every Key Stage one pupil a free portion of fruit or vegetables every day.

Steve McVickers, Managing Director at Thanet Earth, was very pleased to have secured this opportunity. He said, “We very much hope that this will be the first of many occasions in which school pupils are offered our produce through the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme. We hope that teachers will discuss the tomatoes with the children – to explain a little about how they’re grown and how good they are to eat. We’ve selected one of the sweetest small tomato varieties called Sunstream; it’s widely available in supermarkets so we hope to help introduce children to a tomato variety that’s both easy to find and delicious.”

Gareth Jones, Senior Buyer at NHS Supply Chain who is responsible for the management of the scheme said, “We are proud that Thanet Earth has joined the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme as this benefits local children by providing nutritious vegetables and also benefits the local supplier.”


Notes to Editors

School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme

NHS Supply Chain distributes a wide selection of fruit and vegetables, including apples, bananas and carrots to around 16,500 schools on behalf of the Department of Health for the School Fruit and Vegetable Scheme (SFVS).

The scheme was designed to increase the consumption of school children’s fruit and vegetables, and was originally run by the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency (NHS PASA) when it began in 2000 - NHS Supply Chain took over responsibility for the project in 2006.

SFVS was launched following the government white paper ‘Choosing Health’ which identified that the increased consumption of fruit and vegetables plays an important role in promoting health and tackling chronic diseases such as cancer and heart disease.

The scheme offers every Key Stage one child in England one free portion of fruit and vegetables a day. Suppliers range from small farmers to multi-national companies who provide crops such as top fruit and carrots.

NHS Supply Chain works with nine strategically placed distributors around England who operate from 15 locations to minimise food miles.

For more information please contact Andrew Brentnall on 01773 724196 or at

About NHS Supply Chain

NHS Supply Chain is a 10-year contract operated by DHL Exel Supply Chain on behalf of the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA). Its aim is to provide over £1 billion of savings to the NHS so that resources are released for customers to focus on quality frontline patient care, manage costs and achieve sustainable value. NHS Supply Chain provides its services to over 600 NHS trusts and private healthcare providers and offers over 600,000 products. NHS Supply Chain can manage the entire tender process, including Official Journal of European Union processes, and act as single point of contact between trusts and suppliers.

  • procurement
  • supplier
  • logistics
  • Supply Chain consultancy services
  • patient services

All underpinned by world-class IT and ecommerce. The range of 600,000 in-scope products support the patient pathway: diagnosis, intervention and patient care:

  • theatres
  • nursing
  • food and facilities (including office equipment)
  • clinical markets
  • capital equipment

Based in Alfreton, Derbyshire, UK, the business employs around 2,400 staff in eight locations. For further information, visit

About Thanet Earth

A landmark, £80 million glasshouse development on the North Kent coast, Thanet Earth is a site where tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers grow on a scale never seen before in the UK. Every week, more than 2.5 million tomatoes, 500,000 cucumbers and 700,000 peppers are harvested from enormous greenhouses, each the size of around 10 football pitches. With enviable environmental credentials, this new farming development is virtually carbon neutral, with its growing techniques and infrastructure leading the way for the UK’s horticultural industry.

For further information, visit, email or call Judy Whittaker, Communications Manager for Fresca Group Ltd (one of the partner companies in the Thanet Earth joint venture) on 01892 831280.

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