City of Salo: using sustainability criteria in competitive bidding for food procurement


City of Salo

Object of procurement

Food products

Impact of procurement

Every day, the City of Salo serves 14,000 meals in schools, daycare centres, hospitals and senior citizens’ assisted living facilities and as home-delivered meals. The competitive bidding process will guide the City of Salo’s food procurement for the next four years. Based on an estimate made in 2015, the value of the City of Salo’s total procurement was around EUR 72 million, of which food products represented around EUR 3 million.

Background information

The City of Salo has prepared a procurement policy programme for 2016–2019.  The programme specifies four strategic guidelines:

  • A systematic, economical approach
  • Business-friendliness and vitality
  • Innovation and experimentation
  • Responsibility

These guidelines can be implemented by monitoring procurement, increasing market dialogue, adopting new procurement methods and procuring responsibly, for example. All of the guidelines were implemented in the competitive bidding process for food procurement, which reflects the specific programme goal of responsible food procurement.

Goal of procurement

The City of Salo seeks to procure sustainably produced, high-quality food products. The goal was also to enable small local producers to participate in the competitive bidding. 

Parties involved in the procurement (client side)

The procurement was implemented in cooperation with catering and procurement services.


Market dialogue

In June 2017, the City of Salo organised a market dialogue event for companies to comment on and discuss the criteria intended for the competitive bidding process. The companies greatly appreciated and gave positive feedback on the use of sustainability criteria in the procurement.  The companies were also pleased with the fact that the requirements were the same for foreign and Finnish producers.

In addition, small producers’ opportunities to participate in the competitive bidding were facilitated during the process. Yrityssalo organised a separate event to provide companies with guidance on responding to the public invitation to tender.

Terms and conditions
Sustainability criteria were used in the competitive bidding that promote animal welfare and health as well as food safety, and that take the environmental effects of the procurement into account, along with social responsibility.

Concrete criteria were set for the use of antibiotics on production animals, the tail docking of pigs and the monitoring of the foot-pad index among chickens, for example. The foot-pad index is a good indicator of chickens’ wellbeing. These were obligatory requirements in the competitive bidding, meaning that they applied to all tenderers.  

Selection criteria in the competitive bidding:

  • Price: 70%
    Quality: 30%


As a result of the competitive bidding, all of the unprocessed meat products used by the City of Salo’s food service units are of Finnish origin. All in all, the degree of Finnish origin increased with regard to the food products used in the City of Salo’s food services.

The procured food products:

  • Comply with the laws, regulations, standards and other statutory requirements concerning food products and their monitoring in Finland. (In practice, for example, antibiotics are used only when needed, pigs’ tails are not docked and chickens’ foot-pad index is monitored. In other words, animals are required to be treated in accordance with the laws of Finland.)
  • The origin of the raw materials used to manufacture the products is traceable.
  • Meat products and meat preparations can be traced all the way back to the farm or the slaughtering batch.
  • Food products do not include genetically modified raw materials.
  • Food products do not include monosodium glutamate.
  • The products have sufficiently long shelf lives, meaning that their “best before” date comes no sooner than the day following the next delivery date.

Local producers did not submit bids, regardless of the fact that special attention was paid to small producers’ opportunities to participate in the competitive bidding.

Possible further measures 

With regard to the food procurements that were subject to the competitive bidding, quality will be monitored throughout the agreement period to ensure that the deliveries comply with the City of Salo’s orders and criteria.

 Customer’s comment / Lessons learned

“As a whole, the procurement process was very interesting. The practical help provided by Motiva in determining the criteria was beneficial, as were the discussions with the employees’ representatives and companies. It was also great that the local newspaper reported on our procurement. This increased transparency for local residents, as well as for companies.”

Maria Kulmala, Procurement Planner

Resourceful procurement

The City of Salo made use of Motiva’s guide on the responsible procurement of food products.  The purpose of the guide is to help public-sector operators procure responsibly produced food products. The guide provides responsibility criteria and procurement guidelines for the following product groups:

  • Edible fats and vegetable oils
  • Vegetables and berries
  • Grain and grain products
  • Pork and pork products
  • Poultry and poultry products, eggs and egg products
  • Beef and beef products
  • Milk and dairy products
  • Fish and fish products

The criteria provided in the guide have been prepared in cooperation with the food industry and buyers. The criteria have already been used for several procurements in various product groups.

Read more about the guide and the criteria (in Finnish):


Kitchens in the public sector serve around 380 million meals per year, and the public sector spends nearly EUR 350 million per year on the procurement of food and its ingredients. In other words, the criteria for the procurement matter.