Suppliers and provenance
Find out more about our commitment to responsibly sourced local food
We like to work with suppliers who care about animal welfare, sustainability and meeting the special dietary requirements of our customers. Take a look at the headings below to find out more about our partners and the ingredients that go into our food.
- Dairy and eggs
All our eggs are free range and farmed to Laid In Britain standards. They are sourced locally from Fordingbridge in Hampshire and Sixpenny Handley in Dorset. Hampshire County Council was the first local authority to receive the Good Egg Award from Compassion in World Farming.
Our mature cheddar cheese comes from Wyke Farms in Somerset and is made from the milk of cows farmed on lush green pastures. Wyke Farms sources from 68 farms in Somerset, 22 in Dorset, 9 in Wiltshire, and 1 in Devon.
We source grated mild cheddar cheese from master cheesemaker Lye Cross Farm. All milk used by Lye Cross is from within the Cheddar area.
All our kitchen milk comes from southern England or south Wales. Some is from Hampshire dairy farms and processed locally in Southampton. Our flavoured milk is produced by one of Ireland’s largest farmer owned dairy cooperatives.
We also use Muller yoghurts which are made in Shropshire. They source their milk from Shropshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.
"We’ve been farming in the beautiful Yeo Valley since 1961, when the Mead family first bought the farm here in Blagdon. Today we are the largest family-owned dairy business in the UK, with 1200 acres of farmland and 420 award-winning British Friesian cows.
"The food we produce is organic and we are proud to say that we go the extra country mile to look after our land and livestock and we always strive to do the right thing. Supporting British Family Farms is at the heart of everything we do, which includes buying British produce where we can. We make everything from yogurts, butter and cream to compote, ice-cream and children’s products and we’re the UK’s largest organic brand.
"When it comes to kids, we put in extra effort to make sure we are doing our best for their future. To help children flourish from an early age, we believe it’s vital to fill them with the right amount of nutrients; that’s why we worked with HC3S to devise 80g fruited yogurts for the schools market. This amount contains less than 11g of sugar, which is the standard set by Public Health England and is made at our nut free production facility.
"As we use British organic milk and organic fruit, you can trust there is nothing artificial in our yogurt which is important to HC3S. Our products also count towards ‘Food for Life’ accreditation. Most of all, we have pots to suit all appetites; our 80g and 120g offerings are ideal for teens and adults too."
New Forest Ice Cream
"New Forest Ice Cream is a family company which was founded in Hampshire in 1983 to produce high quality, local ice cream. In 2010, HC3S selected New Forest individual ice cream tubs as a Christmas menu treat for children in Hampshire Schools and this was such a hit that it was then added to the main menu rotation from Spring 2011.
"Throughout this time we have worked closely together to ensure that all legislation is met with regard to nutrition, quality, manufacturing standards, traceability, packaging and sustainability of ingredients. In 2017 we collaborated with HC3S to successfully reduce the sugar content of the ice cream by 17% while still retaining the unmistakeable New Forest taste and texture. Distribution is handled by the local Bidfood depot providing a seamless operation while minimising food miles.
"In addition to the ice cream for schools, New Forest also provide ice cream including wrapped impulse and scoop ice cream for a number of leisure sites under the wing of HC3S including Hampshire’s country parks, Calshot Café Bar and other visitor attractions."
"We are small independent producer and packer, dedicated to supplying the best quality, fresh free range eggs to wholesale and retail partners in the local Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire area.
"Our contract to supply H3CS began in 2008 and has grown to become a significant proportion of our sales. We pack for H3CS in cases of 60 eggs and in boxes of 18 eggs which we deliver bi-weekly.
"For a small producer, the benefits of working with HC3S as a reliable and credible customer, has given us the confidence to grow our business, investing in premises, plant and people.
"As a result of supplying H3CS, we felt the confidence to join the Laid in Britain audit scheme and also finance two upgrades of our egg sorting machines over the last eight years. Whilst we are still a micro-producer on the grand scale of the egg market, we now feel capable of thinking of the future in much bigger terms.
"Looking forward, we hope to expand our egg production and continue to grow the business and often reference our positive relationship with H3CS when talking to new customers. We very much look forward to continuing to work with H3CS and feel we are well positioned to meet the demand for high quality fresh local produce with a short cost-effective supply chain."
Diced beef and beef used in our meatballs is sourced wholly from the UK and is farmed to Red Tractor or Quality Meat Scotland standard. Red tractor minced beef comes mainly from the South Midlands.
Red Tractor chicken breast Fillets are sourced from counties bordering the English/Welsh boundary. Cooked diced chicken is also from British Red Tractor farmed poultry, mostly from Norfolk, and prepared in a Grade A BRC factory.
HC3S has a Good Farm Animal Welfare Award for its commitment to use higher welfare farmed chicken. We introduced a barbecue-flavoured chicken sausage in 2017 from free-range farmed birds. The meat in our UK chicken grills is from south-west England farmed birds and has our specifically developed wheat and gluten free coating.
Cooked diced UK turkey chunks come from Bernard Matthews farms in Norfolk. Red Tractor sliced turkey from Norfolk is used for school Christmas dinners.
For other non-schools sites, the main fresh meat butcher is Portsmouth-based and offers a fully traceable range that includes a ‘Southern Pride’ list sourced from Southern England. The butcher has AHDB accreditation for beef and lamb.
Hampshire holds the Compassion in World Farming Good Pig Award. The awards programme works by recognising and rewarding various sectors for working in a sustainable and responsible way.
HC3S sources pork that is Freedom Foods (RSPCA approved) which ensures the following:
- Freedom from hunger and thirst
- Freedom from discomfort
- Freedom from pain, injury or disease
- Freedom to express normal behaviour
- Freedom from fear and distress
Pork loin slices are sourced in the UK from UK reared RSPCA-approved Pork. Sausages are made using English sourced RSPCA-approved pork, made to a BPEX Gold Award winning Southern Pride recipe. Our back bacon and sliced ham is now also made from RSPCA-approved pork.
William White Meats
"William White Meats supplies high quality meat to caterers and establishments throughout London and the UK. We combine the skill and passion of traditional butchery with innovative and precise manufacturing methods, providing exceptional quality products to customers of all sizes.
"We first began working with HC3S in 2016 and were excited to be tasked with creating a gluten free chicken sausage and a gluten free beef meatball. Provenance of the meat is key to HCS3, as well as products that encourage inclusivity amongst the children, hence the creation of Red Tractor gluten-free products that can be served to each and every child.
"The team are a pleasure to work with, always engaged with the process and keen to give their feedback in order to get the final product just right.
Phat Pasty Company
"In November 2017 HC3S launched its British Farm Assured Pork sausage roll developed by the Phat Pasty Company and aimed at secondary and junior school menus – meeting school food standards. The rolls provide a good level of protein, meeting 2017 Salt Guidelines and Food for Life (FFL) bronze credentials.
"Secondary schools have a 6” size (120g) which bakes to 110g and meets all guidelines within the pastry provision allowance, while the primary/junior schools have a smaller 4” sausage roll (90g) and baking to 80g. We have worked closely with local suppliers to find the best possible produce to meet the needs of all children who want a school lunch.
"We are committed to using British produce and are delighted that the sausage roll is already proving popular with pupils."
"Green Gourmet provide us with succulent gluten free chicken breast fillet portions made with British Red Tractor chicken so we are assured of full traceability form farm to fork.
"Free from artificial colours and low in saturated fat, this is a balanced and nutritious chicken breast that we use for our popular roast chicken days.
"Green Gourmet have won the Queen's Award for Innovation winner in 2017 for developing consistently sized, ethically sourced chicken and turkey portions for schools."
"Solent Butchers are a proud family business established in 1984 which began life as a retail outlet in Portsmouth, providing local customers with exceptional service and offering them high quality meat products. Today, Solent Butchers is a well-respected catering butchers, providing chefs and foodservice operators with those same exacting standards of customer service and premium quality cuts of meat.
"Solent Butchers are proud to have worked alongside HC3S over a number of years helping them promote local sourcing. We know that HC3S strive to provide the best possible food for pupils and students across Hampshire as they cater for a diverse range of needs. All products go through a careful selection process, identifying not only the specific needs of the customer but also supporting and promoting the local economy. Our ham, bacon and pork used in sausages have enabled them to achieve Good Pig Awards from Compassion in World Farming."
We make sustainable seafood choices so you can be sure that all the fish served by HC3S are caught sustainably. We are committed to working with suppliers who abide by sustainable methods of catching the fish you eat.
Millions of people depend on fish for food and for their livelihood - it’s great that people are eating more fish than they used to. However, lots of fish is caught by destructive methods, which means that the world is at risk of losing some species from our seas forever.
We never use fish on the marine conservation society ‘fish to avoid’ list. We offer locally-caught trout battered in local ale and fish and chips are one of the nation’s favourite. You can find these dishes and more on our menus. And in schools, our bubble-coated salmon is a fantastic way of encouraging children to eat fish and get the omega 3 they need.
Even our school favourite Friday dish of fish and chips offers nutritional benefits; made nearly entirely from natural products, they are high in protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and fibre.
"For almost fifty years WM Hobson has been a family owned business, procuring and producing quality seafood for the foodservice sector. Ten years ago HC3S were early adopters of fish products that provided solutions to children with allergies and chose Hobsons to support them in creating their ‘Free From’ products. Both of us share the passion to produce top quality products using only the best raw material and ingredients available, always with value for money commercials.
"Being BRC Global Standard & Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) accredited, means we only use sustainable fish; in addition we collaborate on promoting their products to the wider industry via award programmes, such as the “Free From eating out Awards”, and the 2018 “Fish Friday initiative” – part of the Seafish Fish & Chip awards.
"We feel proud to be part of the HC3S business that goes from strength to strength in the pursuit of supplying great food to great children. Together, we provide for the present, whilst preparing for a sustainable future, as we both know this resource is not something we own, but has been entrusted to our care."
"Crown Foods have a long standing relationship and history with HC3S and are very proud to be one of their suppliers; what also makes our relationship one to treasure even more, is that we are locally based, as Crown Foods are based in Lymington in the New Forest.
"Crown Foods supply a number of products for HC3S which are used throughout their catering services, but our focus within the education menus are our MSC Gluten Free Fish Fingers and our award-winning MSC Gluten Free Bubble Coated Salmon Fillets which allow HC3S to serve an inclusive lunch to all students.
"This is something Crown Foods are very happy to see as we promote our all our gluten free lines to be used for everyone, even those without allergies or intolerances to help prevent the possible stigma for those children that require products to suit their intolerances. We are extremely happy to work so closely with HC3S and privileged to be able to source products that meet their requirements.
"Crown Foods’ focus is providing sustainably sourced fish products and we have been supplying MSC fish for over 12 years now. All UK meat is Farm Assured Red Tractor. We understand that sustainability and provenience is important to HC3S and we are here to assist with their sourcing requirements.
"Crown Foods is proud of its long term relationship with HC3S. We enjoy working with them and we believe the feeling is mutual. We deal with any enquiries as quickly and thoroughly as possible and we are eager to supply them with new and innovative fresh ideas to assist with their services.
"Crown Foods are a family run business which has been producing excellent quality products for over 40 years. This year we have celebrated our 40th anniversary and this would not be possible without customers like HC3S. We have around 20 members of the team who are passionate people creating trusted products that meet our market’s needs. This is something that fits perfectly with HC3S."
- Gluten free
We work with suppliers to provide our customers with a wide range of delicious and healthy gluten free options.
Red House Foods
"Red House Foods is an independently owned gluten free factory serving the major UK supermarkets and food service with family favourite gluten free savoury products.
"We have worked with HC3S for the last seven years producing coated chicken, fish and vegetable products for the schools’ market. We have always found HC3S to be an outstanding team to work with. There has always been a collaborative approach to product innovation and with this support, we are delighted that the quality and performance of our products has warranted the inclusion onto the whole school menu, rather than just offered to those on special diets.
"HC3S have had a very proactive approach to working with us, helping to minimise environmental costs, enabling us to achieve far greener credentials with storage and distribution hubs both within 45 miles of our premises. Working relationships are managed and developed on a basis of trust and integrity and we are incredibly proud to be part of their supply chain."
We always offer vegetarian options every day on our school menus. Our vegetable goujon is wheat and gluten free and is manufactured in Amesbury, Wiltshire. Vegetarian sausages and vegetarian balls are manufactured locally in Ringwood, Hampshire. Quorn is sourced from Yorkshire.
"Vegetarian’s Choice is in our third decade of making vegetarian food, and have been delighted to supply HC3S for the past nine years. We started with a sausage, which in recent years we successfully converted to gluten free, and now provide other products including a sage and onion stuffing ball, a mini toad In the hole and now a vegan meatball.
"Throughout this period, our experience and impression of HC3S is of the highest order. There is a genuine desire amongst the team to provide the pupils with good quality food, while supporting and sourcing from local companies such as Vegetarians Choice, and this is coupled with fair pricing and payment terms, as they understand the needs of manufacturers.
"Our time with HC3S has seen continual development in their practices, and this in turn, has brought advances in our company too; their constant striving to improve has been rewarded with a number of justifiable awards within the catering world.
"It is a relationship I hope I will see many more years together."
"Quorn have invested both time and effort to help provide a healthy alternative to a meat option in line with food trends. Quorn’s product range meets the stringent guidelines set out by local government to help provide a healthy and sustainable protein. By doing so we have become accredited with both Carbon Trust and Food for Life supplier schemes which we believe are essential to help local authorities achieve their sustainability goals.
"For over ten years, we have worked in tandem with Hampshire County Council Catering Services (HC3S) to help provide a unique product range which offers both a healthy and nutritious food choice for both pupils and staff.
"I would endorse any engagement in developing business with HC3S."
We source our apple juice from a local Alton-based maker. Children experience the taste of different apple juices as the year progresses, contributing to their understanding of seasonal growing. The fruit used is locally sourced from Liss (Blackmoor Estate) and Droxford (Hill Farm) in Hampshire.
Our pure orange juice manufacturers are based in Bridgewater in Somerset. They work in conjunction with Fareshare, distributing products that would otherwise be thrown away to people who need them.
A range of Welsh-made natural mineral water drinks are used in schools. The manufacturer supports the World Land Trust which uses its funds to purchase and protect threatened habitats worldwide that are home to many endangered species.
All bottled water is from various UK producers, including local New Forest brands.
Our tea is from Tetley and independent tea blenders, Birchall. The specialist coffee available in our visitor attractions, restaurants, cafes, coffee shops and staff HQ in Winchester is sourced from sustainable sources. All blend development and roasting takes place in Southampton, Hampshire.
"In 2005 Grant Lang created the world’s first solar and wind powered art covered coffee cart after buying an Indian tuk tuk with a student loan cheque. It was from this small yet remarkable cart that the Mozzo® Coffee adventure began. Today you’ll find us at Mozzo World, Hampshire on a mission to help our partners like HC3S serve the best coffee possible, while having a little fun along the way.
"Mozzo is very proud to partner with HC3S, working together for the last decade to bring memorable coffee experiences through product, equipment and training support to their great repertoire of venues across Hampshire.
"Establishing the Community2Community Fund™(C2C Fund™) and the fixed contribution of 1p for every capsule and 5p for every kilo of coffee sold by Mozzo, is our way of ensuring that the choice made by all our partners to serve Mozzo coffee delivers a positive impact all the way through the coffee value chain. The fund sets out to initiate and support the constructive progression of coffee farming communities. Head to C2Cfund.org to find out more about how we are working with our current partner community."
- Fruit and vegetables
Local fruit and vegetables are extensively used when in season and include apples and pears, peppers, squash, sweetcorn, courgettes, beans, onions, asparagus, rhubarb, cabbages, cauliflowers, spring greens, leeks, tomatoes, cucumber, spring onions, lettuce, soft fruit, potatoes and watercress.
Some bananas are Fairtrade, when available. Most frozen potato products are sourced from McCain Foods, who is a leading member of the Red Tractor Assurance Scheme which promotes sustainable, environmentally responsible farming in the UK.
We count on McCain Foods to help us serve great tasting chips and wedges to 72,000 pupils.
We use a range of McCain products but ‘Menu Signatures Traditional Chips’ and ‘5% Skin-on Wedges’ are our star performers. They look and taste fantastic and hold really well, so we know the product quality is really good when it reaches the plate.
As wedges and chips are pupil favourites, it’s even more important that pupils are happy and waste is minimal because they’re enjoying the food.
As caterers, we are happy to work with McCain’s because our kitchen teams know they can serve good quality food that with ease that is consistent across all kitchens. Other McCain products we use include Original Choice Mini Waffles, Simply Dice and Simply Wedges.
- Other suppliers