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Catering


Caterers have found that sourcing locally and cooking from scratch has been cost neutral or even cost beneficial. 71% of organisations throughout the UK already meeting the Food for Life Catering Mark standards reported no increase in costs to implement them, and 29% reported overall cost savings. In St Joseph’s Hospital in Newport, South Wales, the Bronze Catering Mark led to savings of 29-33%, while ISS Facility Services for Education have found an increase in up-take of free school meals since they achieved the bronze standard. Having met the bronze standard, many caterers are choosing to build on their success and aim for silver or gold. The silver and gold standards are assessed on a points system, rewarding spend on ethical, environmentally friendly and local ingredients. The use of organic, free range, Freedom Food, Fairtrade, LEAF, Marine Stewardship Council certified fish and Marine Conservation Society ‘fish to eat’ is awarded points, as is the promotion of healthy eating and the use of local and UK suppliers. Nottingham Trent University gained a Bronze Catering Mark as a way to gain points for the People & Planet Green League. Not content to stop at bronze, the team then went on to gain silver by focusing even more closely on the provenance, quality and environmental credentials of the food they served. Since then not only have customer numbers and repeat visits increased, but the team has also won awards and is showcasing their success to other universities. Nottingham University Hospital NHS


Trust and their caterers Carillion and Elior, worked closely with local suppliers to support their Gold Catering Mark, resulting in spending 77% of their raw budget on local meat, milk, bakery and fresh products. This local spending positively impacts on the local economy as well as ensuring security for local businesses. Independent evaluation of Food for Life Catering Mark menus has shown that for every £1 spent on these menus, the social, economic and environmental return on investment for the local authority is £3.


Pulling together


Suppliers are crucial to the Catering Mark Standards, so much so that the Soil Association developed the Catering


Mark Supplier Scheme for wholesalers, ingredient suppliers, producers and food distributers, as a framework for caterers and suppliers to connect and work together. The Soil Association provides training and support to suppliers so that they can meet Catering Mark standards for their products, enabling them to illustrate a commitment to helping caterers improve food sourcing practices and environmental sustainability. Becoming a member of the Catering Mark Supplier Scheme gives suppliers a platform to promote their business and values, and often leads to the development of new products, an increase in sales and new business as a result. Supplier Scheme member Thomas White from William White Meats says: “Due to the rapid growth of the Catering Mark, William White Meats has expanded their product offering by 50% and sales of organic lines have increased 20 fold over the past year.” What’s more, the Catering Mark Supplier Scheme is open to any producer from small independent suppliers of single products or ingredients to wholesalers and large-scale manufacturers, supporting British business and farms at many different levels.





Caterers have found that sourcing locally and cooking from scratch has been cost neutral or even cost beneficial


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