Meet our Catering Mark Relationship Manager, Mike Bond
Launched in February 2009 the Food for Life Catering Mark works with nearly 70 organisations, serving over a quarter of a million award-winning meals a day. The awards offer a unique guarantee that food on the menu is always freshly prepared, free from controversial e-numbers and better for animal welfare.
Catering for change
The Catering Mark aims to build a movement of caterers who are committed to our criteria, while developing public awareness of important food and farming issues. I work on promoting the Catering Mark and engaging public and private sector businesses, NGOs, industry bodies and caterers with the scheme.
At gold - the highest award, we see a transformation in food procurement with 30% organic and 50% local food being served. At bronze 75% of meals must be freshly prepared and no undesirable e-numbers such as aspartame or MSG can be used.
Building market demand
The Catering mark requires a fundamental shift in procurement practice for some caterers – but this is where our supply chain expertise comes in helpful. Our food sourcing experts advise on cost effective sourcing - from farm assured meat to free range eggs or organic pasta. They can also advise on the best ways to include fresh ingredients in large-scale menus.
As more organisations gain the silver and gold Catering Mark awards, they are looking for local suppliers who can provide significant volumes of fresh, organic ingredients, high welfare meat and sustainable fish. This is creating additional demand for these items which means we are perfectly placed to match suppliers with purchasers.
Good for business
For many the biggest appeal of the Catering Mark is that it endorses the ethos of their business. Many caterers are winning new business as local authorities increasingly look for the Catering Mark in tender documents. A number of caterers are even seeing an increase in sales, especially in the schools sector where the Food for Life Partnership activities support the improvement of school dinners. Over 2,200 schools are already eating better meals as a result.
Transforming food culture
We’ve also received funding from the Esmee Fairburn Foundation to build on our success with transforming school meals. Over the next eighteen months we’re looking to engage nurseries, hospitals and universities with the Catering Mark. This is particularly important for the nursery school sector, which currently has no government standards for the quality or nutritional value of food served, whilst almost one quarter of children are overweight by the time they start primary school.
Find out more
The Catering Mark is available for all food providers. We currently have a wide range of award-holders, including local authorities, some of the UK’s biggest commercial caterers, hospitals, nurseries, universities and independent restaurants.
If you’d like to apply for a Catering Mark award, please contact me today on 0117 914 2406 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you know a food provider who you think should apply for the Catering Mark, please tell them about it and ask them to contact us soon.