Catering awards celebrate highest standards in the industry
22 February 2013
126 leading UK caterers have received awards for excellent practice, rewarding their commitment to independent standards of ethical and environmentally sustainable food sourcing, and providing freshly-prepared, healthy meals to schools, nurseries, hospitals, care homes, universities, visitor attractions and workplaces all around the country.
The caterers who received their Food for Life Catering Mark awards range from the UK's largest catering companies - including Eden Food Service, Compass, Harrison, ISS and Sodexo – to cooks working in individual school kitchens.
Helen Browning, CEO of the Soil Association which administers the Catering Mark, presented the awards at an inspirational reception at Merchant Taylor's Hall in London.
Local authorities are acknowledging the Catering Mark as a guarantee of the quality of the ingredients in the meals they provide, in the wake of the horsemeat scandal. Those who are proud to announce that their caterers meet the standards include: Plymouth City Council, Surrey County Council, Nottingham City Council, Northumberland County Council, Lambeth Council, Richmond Council, Barnet Council.
More than 760,000 Catering Mark meals are served in the UK every day, at 5,759 sites around the country.
Peter Melchett, Policy Director, Soil Association says:
"Nearly half our food (by value) is eaten outside the home. We usually get little or no information about it, and we can't check where it comes from, or what it contains. Recent events have shown just how important traceability and quality is. The over 100 million meals served annually that are independently verified by the Food for Life Catering Mark provide exactly the reassurance and integrity that people need
Meat must be traceable back to the farm, and our standards help those providing meals to ensure they are better for the environment, better for animal welfare and better for human health.”
Mark Davies, Divisional Director ISS Education says:
“The team at ISS Education are very excited to be part of the Food for Life Catering Mark, and to have the freshly-prepared, delicious food we serve on nearly 250 school menus recognised by the awards.
“We’re completely committed to the scheme across our Education division: the core principles of providing fresh, seasonal, local, environmentally sustainable and organic food match our own organisation’s values. And we’re keen to do more work teaching children about the origins and benefits of different foods. We believe the Catering Mark is a really important benchmark for the catering industry, giving parents and children a guarantee of the standards we’re achieving.”
Photo: Caterers proudly display their Catering Mark awards presented by the Soil Association in London.
Photo credit: Jay Butcher
For press enquiries contact the Soil Association press office:
Holly Black | Digital Communications and Press Officer Soil Association |
0117 314 5170
Jennifer Stevenson | Communications & Marketing Manager | Soil Association Certification |
0117 314 5122 |07985 055 828
The Soil Association's Food for Life Catering Mark is a rigorous, independent catering industry standard which guarantees that food served is freshly prepared, using seasonal, local and organic ingredients, free from undesirable additives and GM ingredients, with meat produced to British welfare and quality requirements.
It provides an independent guarantee of the issues that are important to people eating meals prepared outside their homes: health, animal welfare, and planet-friendly food. Amongst other requirements:
- Meals are freshly prepared, with seasonal ingredients.
- Eggs are from cage-free hens and meat is from animals farmed to British welfare standards.
- No endangered fish is served.
- Menus are free from undesirable additives and GM ingredients.
The Bronze, Silver and Gold tiers encourage caterers to make step-by-step progress towards using more local, free range, fair trade and organic ingredients to produce healthier menus.
There are currently 761,434 Catering Mark-approved meals served every day in the UK, provided by 126 Catering Mark-awarded caterers at 5,759 sites around the UK, including:
- 5,146 schools (currently serving 700,418 Catering Mark meals a day)
- 284 children’s nurseries
- 15 universities
- 6 National Trust visitor sites
- 3 hospitals
- 2 parliament buildings (Stormont and the Welsh Assembly)