Sodexo subsidiary Entegra has said it will work with existing and new suppliers to deliver a £100m public sector food contract.

The Crown Commercial Service Better Food & Drink framework was designed to create a single supplier model to provide food to schools, hospitals, and other public bodies.

The tender winner, Entegra, told The Grocer it would “work closely” with both national and regional suppliers, as it looked to ease industry concerns.

The FWD expressed concern about the contract keeping wholesale partners and SMEs out of the market, leading to a “potential government monopoly on public sector supply”.

Entegra said it would work collaboratively with the supply chain to facilitate transparency and make the public sector market more open to SME primary producers.

The company also stated that it “intends to introduce suppliers progressively over time, according to need, as buyers engage with the framework”.

“We pride ourselves on our relationships with our supply chain today. Our close working partnership with both national and regional suppliers is a big part of what makes our work successful for catering buyers and food suppliers across the UK today,” said Entegra managing director UK&I Stephen Beech.

Another aspect required by the contract, the ’Buyer Unique Line’, will also put SMEs at the centre, by introducing a mechanism enabling buyers to nominate new SME producers from which they would like to source food or drink.

Entegra plans to support this goal using AgileChain technology, a platform available 24/7 to national and regional buyers, suppliers and producers.

“This technology platform uses smart automation to enable existing wholesalers, distributors or processors to manage more short food supply chains with SME producers more efficiently”, said an Entegra spokesman.

The CCS will be in charge of ensuring awareness of the agreement with customers, and to ensure supply chain readiness before launching the contract to buyers later this year.