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Catering


How caterers are driving quality


Over a third of our daily calories are consumed when we’re out and about. Rich Watts explains why it’s important to ensure that healthy, sustainable and locally sourced food is accessible and affordable to everyone – and how it is being done


longside soaring NHS costs, countless studies have highlighted the link between diet and health. A poor diet is linked to increases in cancer and diabetes, as well as diseases of the digestive system and dental problems, while obesity may also increase the chances of stroke and heart disease. In 2006-2007 ill-health related to poor diet cost the NHS £5.8 billion, while the cost of physical inactivity was just under £1 billion. There are expected to be 11 million more obese adults in the UK by 2030, which will add £5.5 billion in medical costs to the NHS by 2050.


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Raising the standard It’s no surprise then that people are demanding better quality food in their workplaces, schools, nurseries, universities, care homes and hospitals. The great news is that the food service industry is responding. With now over 1.5


million Food for Life Catering Mark meals being served each workday, it is clear the industry is recognising the value of independent accreditation that guarantees their food is more fresh, nutritious, environmentally sustainable and British. With annual inspections and a tiered structure from bronze to gold, the Catering Mark gives caterers a framework to guide them towards further improving food. It’s not just the general public who are demanding sustainable, healthy meals; the government has committed to improving food standards, too. The Catering Mark has been cited in NHS England’s 2014/15 guidance for commissioners and care providers as a way to support hospitals to raise food standards and achieve the new Hospital Food Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) as a mark of clinical excellence. This means that hospitals can access substantial central government funds for excellence in food


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