Welsh beef is on the menu for pupils on Merseyside after a leading wholesaler clinched a major education authority contract worth over £500,000 a year.

Harlech Foodservice Ltd is supplying Welsh beef, lamb and other meat products to 59 schools on Merseyside from its bases near Criccieth and in Chester.

The three-year deal with Knowsley Council is the first major public service contract in England to be won by the company which celebrates its 50th anniversary this year.

Harlech Commercial Director Mark Lawton said: “We are delighted to have won this deal against stiff competition as we strengthen our presence in the North West of England.

“Knowsley is a big win for us as it’s our first schools contract in England and it is showing the benefit of us opening our new office and supply depot in Chester.

“We will be supplying them with meat products, mainly fresh produce, and including Welsh beef as well as British pork and chicken and it’s all Red Tractor quality assured.”

The Knowsley contract will see them provide school meals for 12,000 pupils a day at the Council’s six secondary schools, 47 primaries and 6 special schools – that’s approaching 2.4 million meals a year.

It follows Harlech’s success in winning school meals contracts with Gwynedd, Conwy and Denbighshire Councils.

Mark Lawton added: “Winning contracts like these enable us to provide vital employment at a time when the pandemic has had a drastic effect on the hospitality trade and also to support local food producers.

“We currently have school contracts with four local authorities so we are providing meals for over 120,000 pupils a week and in all cases we deliver directly to each school.

“Every week the head cook in each of the 59 schools we serve in Knowsley places their orders and we have the capacity to guarantee delivery for that through our fleet of lorries and vans.”

Harlech Foodservice are also in talks with a number of other education authorities in England and Wales through their membership of TUCO – The University Caterers Organisation – a framework which qualifies businesses to provide catering services for the public sector.

Harlech recently won a contract to supply schools across Gwynedd with meat, including Welsh beef and lamb, and this comes on top of existing schools contracts with Conwy and Denbighshire.

Harlech Foodservices has bases at Criccieth, Gwynedd, and Chester and between the two locations, the company employs around 200 staff and runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.

For more on Harlech Foodservices go to https://www.harlech.co.uk/