One of the north-east's biggest meat wholesalers has won a multi-million contract to supply every local authority school and care home in Northumberland.
Lowries Wholesale, which has warehouses in Newcastle, Hexham and Penrith, has also pledged to source an increasing proportion of its meat from the region's farms.
"We are actively encouraging local producers to contact us," said Peter Lowrie, the firm's principal. "We want to supply as much locally reared meat as we can within this contract."
The three-year deal covers all 204 Northumberland schools and social care establishments. As a result, Lowries has invested £250,000 in new technology, transport and staff to ensure an efficient operation. "All the investment we make with this contract will, wherever possible, be returned to the north-east economy," added Lowrie.