UK’s largest childcare provider achieves Soil Association award for serving healthy food
15 March 2012
Busy Bees, the UK’s largest childcare provider, has been awarded the prestigious bronze Food for Life Catering Mark from the Soil Association for serving fresh and healthy meals in 129 nurseries across England and Wales. This guarantees that all 14,000 meals served to children at Busy Bees nurseries every week day are freshly prepared from seasonal ingredients, better for animal welfare, and free from trans fats and GM. They are also free from additives which have been shown to affect children’s behaviour – such as MSG, aspartame and tartrazine – so parents can rest assured that their little ones are getting the good food they deserve.
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More and more, people want to know where their food comes from and how it is produced. The Food for Life Catering Mark offers a guarantee that fresh food you can trust is always on the menu. The Catering Mark is open to all food providers. The bronze, silver and gold tiers offer a step-by-step route to serving more locally produced, seasonal, healthy and organic food.
Busy Bees employ a dedicated catering team at each of their nurseries, all of whom are required to complete an exclusively developed Early Years Nutrition course. Mel Fox, Catering Manager at Busy Bees, comments on their achievement:
“We are proud to have achieved the bronze Food for Life Catering Mark. This award means that parents can be certain that the food their children are eating at nursery is freshly prepared using quality ingredients. The Catering Mark offers recognition for the high standard of our food and provides an independent guarantee from the Soil Association that we’re really providing the best food service for the children.”
Explaining the importance of the Catering Mark, Rob Sexton, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification, says:
"The bronze Catering Mark is an excellent achievement which recognises the vital role that fresh, seasonal meals play in healthy and planet-friendly menus. One in four children are overweight when they start primary school so developing healthy eating habits at nursery is vital to get them on the right path for the future. The Catering Mark reassures parents that their children’s meals at nursery are prepared from scratch and free from GM ingredients and trans fats.”
For further information please contact:
Clio Turton, Soil Association press office manager - 0117 914 2448 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Sarah Murray, Busy Bees PR and Communications Coordinator - 01543 678 533 / email@example.com
Notes to editors:
Food for Life Catering Mark menu criteria include:
- Meals contain no undesirable food additives or hydrogenated fats
- 75% of dishes are freshly prepared
- Meat is from farms which satisfy UK welfare standards
- Eggs are from cage-free hens
- Menus are seasonal
- Training is provided for all catering staff
- No GM ingredients are used
Silver and gold
The silver and gold Catering Mark standards are assessed on a points system. Food providers are rewarded for every percentage point of their ingredient spend on items including organic and free range animal products, locally sourced ingredients and steps to offer healthier menus. The points system maintains rigorous principles for environmentally friendly, local and healthy food, yet offers flexibility to recognise food providers’ different strengths and priorities. Silver and gold Catering Mark holders must also meet the bronze standards.
About Busy Bees
Busy Bees Group is the UK’s largest childcare provider, with 147 nurseries across the country. The business incorporates Leapfrog Day Nurseries, which Busy Bees acquired in September 2007, and Early Years Childcare, acquired in January 2012. The Busy Bees Group is committed to providing quality care for every child in a safe, caring environment, whilst meeting each child’s individual social, physical and emotional needs.
For more information about Busy Bees please visit: www.busybees.com
About the Soil Association Food for Life Catering Mark and Food for Life Partnership
The Food for Life Catering Mark originated as part of the successful Food for Life Partnership, which is working with 4,500 schools across the country to put fresh, healthy dinners on the school menu and food education in the timetable. Food for Life Partnership schools have reported an increase in attendance as well as improved behaviour, and meal take-up has risen by almost three times the national average in schools which have been awarded the Catering Mark.
For more information about the Food for Life Catering Mark please visit: www.soilassociation.org/cateringmark