Anchor serves up a success with YPO food framework
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Anchor serves up a success with YPO food framework


Anchor Group is the largest not-for-profit housing association in England, providing care, support and housing to the elderly. Each year Anchor residential care homes spend around £3million on general groceries and frozen foods. As a not-for-profit organisation, it is important that Anchor continues to look for ways to make savings. 

After using the same frozen food supplier for a decade, Anchor decided to review its existing contract for the supply of ambient, chilled and frozen food products to 122 of its care homes throughout the UK. The housing association identified that a review of its procurement process was needed to both assess the competitiveness of Anchor’s current supplier, whilst properly exploring the market to establish whether it could receive a better deal without compromising on quality or service.


The housing association had reservations about the potentially costly task of coordinating their own tender, as well as the risks associated with moving away from its incumbent supplier to a new firm. Securing new suppliers would be a complex undertaking with a requirement to go to the market and assess suppliers’ capacity to fulfil Anchor’s large volume of regular orders. Anchor was also keen to secure added benefits, including long business rebates and assurance that the process was completely transparent from start to finish. 

In addition, the process would have to begin from scratch as Anchor had never conducted a thorough review of its food suppliers before and had been using the same supplier for the last 10 years. 


Rather than conduct its own tender, Anchor recognised the benefits of working with a buying organisation like YPO in order to find the right supplier and procure the right service through a framework that provided a compliant route to market with little fuss but all the benefits of full market engagement. 

YPO ensured that the suppliers in the framework had the capability to deliver all Anchor’s requirements whilst offering the best possible value. By working closely with YPO, a process which involved regular meetings and updates provided by the purchasing organisation, the framework was completed in five months. 


Despite initial skepticism, Anchor quickly realised the benefits of working with a public sector buying organisation, from the reduced administrative burden associated with running a full OJEU tender that was 100% legally compliant and transparent.

YPO identified a range of suppliers through a pre-competed route to market which resulted in fewer tenderers having to be evaluated. This saved both time and costs, and allowed a clear view of what was spent on procurement. 

Importantly, savings on Anchor’s food spend have been achieved. Over the total contract period the organisation expects to make savings of over 10% of spend, without compromising quality or service.  The YPO framework has now been rolled out to each of Anchor’s care home sites across England. 

Although changing suppliers can sometimes result in disruption of everyday operations, the procurement process was implemented quickly, resulting in minimal disruption to the supply chain and ensuring a degree of continuity to Anchor’s customers. 

Key Learnings 

Sean Wheatley, Category Manager for catering, cleaning, HSE and medical, at Anchor said: “Moving to a new supplier seemed like a risk to us, but YPO’s expertise, flexibility and commercial knowledge instilled confidence in our team and we soon realised that we were on the right track.  

“Right through the process, which we know can be grossly complicated, we were kept informed through regular meetings and updates by YPO. We are very satisfied with YPO’s customer service and the long-term benefits we have gained through our relationship with YPO, which ultimately have had a positive impact on our bottom-line.”