A GROUP of Somerset food and drink producers have been awarded an interim catering contract for EDF Energy’s Hinkley Point C project.

The collaboration group Somerset Larder will deliver the contract until the spring of 2016, when the full contract for catering services at Hinkley Point C will be awarded.

More than 20 local food and drink businesses make up the innovative group which was founded as a result of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce’s support.

Greg Parsons, managing director of Somerset Larder and Cricketer Farm, said: “We are delighted to have been awarded the interim catering contract for Hinkley Point C, which will allow us to supply the workforce with locally sourced food from local suppliers.

“This achievement would not have been possible without the significant support from the Somerset Chamber, the Somerset Larder board of directors and the EDF Energy team.

“However, this is merely the start and our focus now and into the future will be to ensure that Somerset Larder delivers the contract to the highest possible standards.”

Nigel Cann, site construction director at Hinkley Point C, said: “The south west regional economy will benefit by £100m each year of peak construction and using local suppliers wherever possible is a key commitment for the project. We are delighted to award the interim catering contract to Somerset Larder and are hopeful that this will be the first of many supplier collaboration success stories for the county.”

More than 5,600 people are expected to be on site at Hinkley Point C during the peak of construction, with the full catering contract including food halls, coffee bars and a central production kitchen serving both the site and worker accommodation campuses.

Somerset Larder was established earlier this year as a private limited company, with a board of directors made up of representatives from seven of the founding companies. The Somerset Chamber’s Hinkley Supply Chain Team was instrumental in bringing the group together and has been working closely with the Somerset Larder directors for the past 18 months, helping them to bid successfully for the interim contract.

Rupert Cox, CEO of the Somerset Chamber of Commerce, said: “The Somerset Larder team is focused on delivering a first class service to the Hinkley Point C site, as well as developing business outside and beyond the Hinkley Point C project.

“This organisation is the first of many that will demonstrate that local engagement is not just words, it’s real and will leave a lasting legacy for Somerset and the South West.”