The Sizewell C nuclear project is set to give a huge boost to the region's food producers and suppliers by sourcing the vast majority of food for its workforce locally.

The new nuclear project near Leiston plans to source 80% of its workforce's food from the local area in what it described as "an ambitious target".

Produce must conform to UK food standards and the aim is to cut food miles and support local supply chains.

Over the planned 12-year construction period - feeding around 7,900 site workers at peak - this amounts to just under £60m.

Produce will include apples, pears, strawberries, carrots, potatoes, onions, eggs, bacon, sausages, pork, sugar, coffee and bakery.

Cattle grazing near the Sizewell C site at Lower Abbey Farm (Image: Andrew Hendry)

Local vegetable farmer James Foskett of Woodbridge welcomed the initiative. "I support that 100%," he said. "I think it's right that they should do that. I think it's great for East Suffolk producers."

The grower - who produces potatoes and onions and organic vegetables including carrots - said he would happily supply the plant if asked.

Local food campaigner Caroline Cranbrook also welcomed the policy.

"Whatever your opinion of Sizewell C and  the plans to build a third nuclear reactor at Sizewell, it is at least good news that employees involved in the project will be fed on locally produced food and drink," she said.  

"This will obviously benefit our renowned local food and drink industry – and, indeed, the Sizewell employees. I look forward to hearing more about the food procurement plans and the benefits to our local food and drink producers."

The project has announced a series of catering commitments aimed at bringing social and environmental benefits during the construction and operation phases of the power station.

These include providing varied and affordable meals on site. Meals should be "healthy, inclusive, and affordable", accommodating a wide variety of dietary requirements - from medical and health needs to cultural and religious preferences.

Food waste policy on the wise includes recycling  through anaerobic digestion or composting and avoiding landfill unless absolutely necessary. 

James Foskett, a farmer based near Woodbridge (Image: Sarah Lucy Brown)

The site will engage with local food sharing schemes, charities, shelters and local foodbanks to minimise food waste and deliver local social benefits.

The food policy also includes minimising the use of Single-Use Plastics (SUPs).

A Central Preparation Kitchen (CPK) will be created to ensure all food prep and distribution takes place at a single offsite local facility. This will aim to offer local catering apprenticeships.

Sizewell C site delivery director Damian Leydon said: “Suffolk is well known for being a foodie county, and it’s a no-brainer for us to tap into and support local suppliers and local produce.

“We’ve made a long-term commitment to maximise the benefits of Sizewell C for East Suffolk and help build economic growth here – and this local supply target is another powerful way for us to achieve that. It represents a huge opportunity for food suppliers in this region.

“It’s an ambitious target, and we’ll always have to balance our local preference with the need to provide affordable meals for the team onsite – but we’ve got a clear plan in place and we’re looking forward to working with the many excellent suppliers and producers in the region to deliver quality catering for Sizewell C.”

To help achieve the new target, Sizewell C will source a range of products from regional growers, producers, and roasteries.

Catering produce is also set to meet certified food standards with such as British Lion Mark (eggs), Marine Stewardship Council (fish), and British Red Tractor (meat and poultry), and  include Fairtrade wherever possible.

Sizewell C estimates that £125m will be spent in the local community each year during the construction of the new nuclear power station.

Earlier this week, the £23m Sizewell C Community Fund opened to eligible projects in the East Suffolk Council area.

The planned power station achieved development consent earlier this year and has been awarded a Nuclear Site Licence.

A Final Investment Decision on the plant is expected later this year.

(Image: Sizewell C)