The City of Ballarat has awarded its delivered meals program contract, Meals on Wheels, to Hearty Health following a robust tender process.
Four companies tendered for the contract. An extensive evaluation process found Hearty Health demonstrated the use of fresh local produce throughout their production of soups, main meals and desserts.
The awarding of the tender followed an extensive evaluation process, including:
a review of the tender application and required documentation
a site visit to the caterer's production kitchen to evidence their OHS and Food Safety practices, followed by discussion with the company's referees
a review of the nutritional value of the meals, the origin of the ingredients in the meals, whether the food is fresh or frozen with a preference for fresh food, and the price per meal - ie, value for money
a taste test where 97 residents, including Meals on Wheels recipients, their families, volunteers, community members and members of the media, tasted and rated a range of meals from the two shortlisted, unidentified providers.
Meals on Wheels plays a crucial role in the health and wellbeing of some of Ballarat’s most vulnerable residents. It is vital the meals taste good to ensure residents will consume the nutrient-rich food.
Hearty Health was the unanimous choice at the taste testing, with all of the 10 tables of taste testers voting for Hearty Health ahead of the other provider. The total votes stood at 9,338 for Hearty Health compared to 8,212 for the other provider.
Hearty Health will also partner with meal recipients and the City of Ballarat in a co-design model about menu choices and ongoing consultation with the community. This co-design will enable more variety and choice in the Meals on Wheels program using fresh, local seasonal produce.
Hearty Health demonstrated supply and provision of fresh primary produce, including:
vegetables that are fresh and seasonal, with the majority sourced from Victoria and the rest from within Australia
fish sourced from Australia
the only frozen produce used is green peas, sourced from New Zealand
all breads and desserts are made from scratch, including all sauces.
Hearty Health meals will commence delivery of the one-year Meals on Wheels contract on 16 September 2019.
Hearty Health has 20 years of experience in catering and provides meals to customers across Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland.
Through Meals on Wheels, the City of Ballarat supplies around 80,000 main meals, 40,000 desserts and 14,000 soups to 520 meal recipients across the municipality each year.
The service is managed by City of Ballarat staff, supported by about 140 volunteers delivering meals.
The City of Ballarat’s Active Ageing team provides a comprehensive and integrated range of support services for frail, older residents and their carers to assist them to live safely and as independently as possible in their own homes.