The Sustainable Production and Supply of Food Challenge

A partnership between Cardiff Council, Monmouthshire Council, the Cardiff Capital Region, Welsh Government Innovation and the SBRI Centre of Excellence

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A total of £2,150,000 (incl VAT) is available to fund all 3 phases as outlined below.


Cardiff Council in partnership with Monmouthshire County Council are delivering this project with funding from Cardiff Capital Region City Deal and Welsh Government and supported by the SBRI Centre of Excellence.


The COVID-19 pandemic, the UK’s departure from the European Union, increased energy prices combined with the Russia-Ukraine war has and will continue to present challenges to our food systems.  These events have highlighted how heavily dependent the UK is on imported foods. We have seen food prices rise, empty shelves in our supermarkets, watched lorries packed with perishable goods queuing at borders and been told that a shortage of labour (i.e., food workers and HGV drivers) is preventing restaurants, supermarkets, schools, hospitals and consumers from accessing the food they need.  Our fragile, ‘conventional’ food systems are increasingly coming under the spotlight as they adversely affect our economies, our environment and our health.

The ‘conventional’ food systems that currently feed Wales are based on complex, international logistics and ‘long’ food supply chains that involve many intermediaries.  Increased populations and weather events such as flooding, and drought brought on by climate change will add further pressure to our finite resources, increasing the costs of food and making our conventional food systems more challenging – now is the time for change.

Cardiff Council and Monmouthshire County Council recognise that the way we produce, supply and consume food in the future will play a major part in determining how successful we are in living up to the unprecedented challenges that face us in terms of the climate change emergency, biodiversity loss and diet-related illness.  Shifting our food and farming system to capitalise on our local assets presents enormous opportunities for the health of our economy, people and the planet.

Economics – The great majority of the value of our primary production is realised elsewhere. This has had a profound impact, particularly in the rural economy with the loss of economic activity and jobs with serious knock-on impacts for communities in terms of inequality, social cohesion and the Welsh language.  The economic benefits to our communities of re-localising food systems could be transformational in terms of circulating wealth and revitalising our local communities.

Environmental – The current food system is not sustainable or resilient. 48% of all food consumed in UK is imported from across the world. This increases world-wide carbon emissions, contributes to deforestation and forced labour as well making us more susceptible to global impacts.

Socially – Wales has a duty to future generations to tackle health related issues. Severe obesity prevalence rates in Wales are ‘significantly higher’ than the rest of the UK whilst the number of people who are unable to afford the cost of a healthy diet have increased since the pandemic. This will be further impacted by the cost of living crisis which has seen food and energy prices soar.

Policy Context

The ‘Wellbeing for Future Generations Act (2015)’ aims to improve the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales.  The Act sets out seven goals which represent the long-term vision for Wales.  Public bodies now need to think more about the long-term, work better with people and communities and each other, look to prevent problems and take a more joined-up approach.  Public bodies must operate in a way that ensures that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.  Public bodies are required to ensure that when making decisions they consider the impact they could have on people living their lives in Wales in the future.

The National Food strategy sets out what the UK government will do to create a more prosperous, agri-food sector that delivers healthier, more sustainable and affordable diets for all.

Welsh Government have recently announced free school meals for all children of primary school age which will ensure that children have a healthy meal every day.  Additionally, a new Food (Wales) Bill has recently won the support of the Senedd to proceed with making the case for the Bill in principle, this aims to establish a more sustainable food system.  These also coincide with other major drivers for change such as the forthcoming Agriculture Bill, the Community Food Strategy, and a renewed focus on the foundational economy.

The Challenge

Cardiff Council in collaboration with Monmouthshire County Council are seeking to identify and support projects to develop innovative solutions which can significantly improve the sustainable production and supply of food.  The Challenge looks for applicants to harness the potential of land, technology and people to increase the sustainable production and supply of locally grown food in the Cardiff Capital Region. The Challenge requires applicants to clearly demonstrate:

  • Problem 1: how they will increase the sustainable production of food in the region and generate positive economic, social and environmental impacts.
  • Problem 2: how they will increase supply of nutritious, locally grown food whilst ensuring a fair price for producers and the wellbeing of future generations.

We are interested in receiving applications that address both problems and would encourage partnerships between applicants to realise this. However, we may consider solutions that address one of the problems if it is clearly justified and supported by sound evidence to be an innovative and pragmatic solution.

We are interested in sustainable food production and supply chain solutions which can be applied to the public sector (e.g., school meal provision, NHS meals), the private and third sector to maximise commercial opportunities.

How can solutions help with these challenges?

We believe that innovative solutions could: –

  • Provide greater access to healthy, nutritious food;
  • Provide better quality food which will improve the health and wellbeing of citizens in Wales;
  • Create more resilient food supply chains that focus on more open and equitable partnerships;
  • Improve capabilities throughout the supply chain so that the sector delivers competitive and sustainable products that meet the needs of future generations;
  • Create an efficient supply chain efficiency which could be interpreted beyond economic cost-and-benefit to include social and environmental considerations; and
  • Support place based economic development and local wealth building in the CCR.
  • Protect, and where possible enhance, soil health, water quality and biodiversity.
Challenge Targets and Measurements of Success

Applicants should consider the targets and metrics of the Challenge when proposing their solutions. We appreciate that some solutions will not be able to contribute to all of the metrics detailed, however, applicants should clearly be able to demonstrate the ability to contribute to the target:

Problem 1 Target – By 2025, we will have increased healthy, low carbon food production using a variety of innovative growing methods. We will have improved access to land resources to support production and increased consumption of local food.


  • An increase in local sustainable food production;
  • An increase in land use for sustainable food production in the Region;
  • An increase in food related employment that pays at least the National minimum wage.

 Problem 2 Target – By 2025, we will have an increased supply of  nutritious, locally grown food.


  • An increase in locally sourced food;
  • An increase in the volume of locally grown food that is sourced and distributed by wholesalers;
  • An increase in the number of short food supply chains;
  • An increase in the opportunities for growers/SMEs to supply the ‘Public Plate’;
  • A decrease in food waste demonstrated by improved supply and demand models.
Please Note:

1)      Any adoption and implementation of a solution from this competition would be subject to a separate, possibly competitive, procurement exercise. This competition does not cover the purchase of any solution although we may choose to investigate and explore innovative procurement routes as part of this challenge.



Out of Scope
  • Analytical techniques.
  • High carbon foods.
  • Highly processed food.
  • Food which is predominantly produced for the export market and cannot be used for local use.
Funding Allocation and Project Details

The competition will run in three phases (subject to viable solutions coming from earlier phases). Applications will be assessed using the evaluation criteria provided in the tender documents.

  • Phase 1 is intended to show the feasibility of the proposed concept. Development contracts will be for a duration of 4 months and up to £50,000 (inc. VAT) per project. It is anticipated that up to 8 feasibility studies will be funded. The final number of projects awarded will be dependent on the quality of the submissions.


Produce a Phase 1 feasibility study that:

  1. Addresses the targets and metrics of the Challenge (see Challenge targets and measurements of success);
  2. Includes a market research report identifying opportunities for further upscaling of the innovation in Phase 2 and 3;
  3. Identifies the potential negative, as well as positive impacts (social, environmental & economic) of increasing production and identifies mitigation options to minimise any negative impacts;
  4. Identifies test sites or partners in Wales for the Phase 2 Demonstrator phase allowing applicants to test the solution, and
  5. Considers at least two delivery options and budgets for Phase 2 and 3 for your solution. This will enable the Challenge fund to consider one or more solutions at Phase 2 and 3.
  • Phase 2 contracts are intended to develop and evaluate prototypes of demonstration proposals from the more promising solutions identified in Phase 1, and it is anticipated that projects will run for 12 months. Only those projects that have completed Phase 1 successfully will be eligible to apply for Phase 2. Approximately £800,000 (inc. VAT) of funding has been assigned to this phase and can be awarded to one or more The final allocation of budget to projects will be difficult to predict at this stage so applicants will need to consider a range of delivery options and budgets in their proposals.
  • Phase 3 contracts are intended to provide organisations, successful in phase 2, with an opportunity to scale up their innovative solutions, and it is anticipated that projects will run for a maximum of 12 months. Approximately £1,000,000 (inc. VAT) of funding has been assigned to this phase and can be awarded to one or more Again, the final allocation of budget to projects will be difficult to predict at this stage so applicants will need to consider a range of delivery options and budgets in their proposals.
  • The total funding for the Challenge can change and the funders have the right to:
  • Adjust the provisional funding allocation between the Phases, and
  • Apply a portfolio approach.
Please note:

·         The procurement of all 3 Phases is subject to grant funding. The current Challenge Fund funding is in place until March 2024, but this will be reviewed and hopefully extended in Autumn 2022. Therefore, Cardiff Council reserves the right to terminate the contract and/or not proceed to the next Phase of the project if approval for continuation of the Challenge Fund beyond March 2024 is not obtained.

·         The procurement is subject to grant funding and the Council reserves the right not to award and/or not proceed with the procurement.

·         The Council reserves the right to terminate the contract and/or not proceed to the next stage/phase should the grant be withdrawn, reduced, reclaimed or withheld.

·         The Council has the right to reclaim, withhold and/or withdrawn in the same circumstances as the grant conditions (referred to above).

·         The recipient(s) of the Phase 3 contract(s) will be required to report on actual impact throughout project lifetime and will be required to participate in post-project monitoring and evaluation with Cardiff Council, Cardiff Capital Region and Welsh Government for at least 2 years post-project completion.


Key dates – these may be subject to change


Competition launch30/09/2022
Information event

Informal meetings



Deadline for applications (feasibility stage) Assessment02/12/2022
Contracts awarded (feasibility stage)

Phase 1 commences



Contracts completed (feasibility)31/05/2023
Phase 2 (Demonstrator)July 2023 to July 2024
Phase 3 (Scale up)September 2024 to September 2025


Further Information

For more information on this competition, visit:

Simply Do


For any enquiries about this competition e-mail:


“This document is available in Welsh / Mae’r ddogfen hon ar gael yn Gymraeg”

This competition has ended.