Food standards

Written by 
Published in Features
Ed Bevan, Communications Director at Acquire, Foodbuy Limited, explores the importance of food accreditation when catering for university students.
 
Once upon a time, campus catering was a somewhat bland affai,r often consisting of plates loaded with potatoes and as many cheap, filling carbohydrates as possible. In today’s world, things have changed – students now expect to have a varied choice with ingredients that are responsibly sourced and healthy options as standard. “Research shows that almost half (40%) of those aged 20 and under rate sustainably sourced ingredients as very important when choosing what food to buy. This is closely followed by those in the 21-34 age bracket, where 30% said that it formed an important part of their decision-making process. “As environmental and sustainable awareness increases with each generation, it is no surprise that people are taking this into consideration when making decisions about the food they eat. Students now have more choice than ever, so how do university caterers keep their customers on campus and potentially boost their bottom line at thesame time?
 
Provide the right assurance
“To meet the demand from today’s students for transparency andtraceability across the food chain, it’s important to make it as easy as possible for consumers to identify dishes and products that support causes that they care about. Flagging ingredients accredited by a food assurance scheme sends out a clear message about a catering outlet’s sourcing practices and brand ethos. “However, knowing where to start can be a little daunting as the list of food assurance schemes is anything but short. Ranging from Red Tractor and Fairtrade to the Rainforest Alliance and the Soil Association, understanding accreditations and what they mean can be a bit of a minefield. Below is a brief guide of the major accreditation marks and what they mean for the food provided:
 
Fairtrade
• The Fairtrade mark is designed to support producers in developing countries to ensure they get a fair deal as well as work in suitable conditions.
• Fairtrade coffee, nuts, tea, bananas, sugar, rice, spices, grains and chocolate should all be on the shopping list of any ethical university. Organic (EU Green Leaf organic symbol or the Soil Association organic symbol)
• Predominantly overseen by the Soil Association and EU Law, organic standards look at all aspects of food manufacturing and ban unnecessary and harmful food additives.
• For universities looking to try organic, the key foods to include on menus are meat, vegetables and milk. However, if you know and trust your producers then the Organic mark isn’t always necessary.
 
Red Tractor
• Red Tractor is the largest UK farm and food standards scheme which covers animal welfare, food safety, traceability and environmental protection. Products under this scheme have a Red Tractor logo on the label.
• The mark is perfect for those looking for products which meet basic UK healthand safety criteria.
• For universities looking to adhere to high-welfare practices when purchasing meat and eggs for example, they should look to other marks such as Lion Quality. “When looking for ingredients bearing an accreditation mark however, caterers should be aware that this doesn’t mean that food is necessarily nutritionally better, organic, produced in Britain, free from additives or taste any different than other alternatives. Unless any of these traits are specifically stated.
 
“The sheer range of standards and accreditations can cause confusion. One way that university food outlets are tackling accreditation and ensuring that their food is appealing to what their customers want is by using online tools. E-procurement platforms can help university caterers to harness a vast range of in-depth information on all food accreditations, linking them back to specific products – making the selection of ethical, local, sustainable and green products much easier. “One thing is for sure, choosing to work with ingredients that are accredited and offering students the reassurance that comes with greater awareness of where their food comes from can go a long way to boosting sales. This is a trend that is here to stay, there is no going back to the days of institutionalised catering where there was little choice or information available to campus catering outlets.”
 
Acquire, Foodbuy Limited provides online procurement systems that are used by some of the country’s leading foodservice providers, including universities.
 
For more information, go to www.acquireservices.co.uk

Name


Email Address


AUDE Spotlight

AUDE appoints new Chair

AUDE appoints new Chair

The Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE (https://www.aude.ac.uk/)) announ...

This year's awards

This year's awards

AUDE honours estate management sector with awards at annual conference.

The Big Conversation

The Big Conversation

Association of University Directors of Estates Chair Trevor Humphreys, Director of Esta...

The AUDE Awards 2017

The AUDE Awards 2017

The Association of University Directors of Estates (AUDE) are proud to announce on the ...

Library love

Library love

Students more interested in library and IT facilities than pubs and social spaces as ne...

AUDE Launches Green Scorecard

AUDE Launches Green Scorecard

The Association of University Directors of Estates launches its first ever Green Scorec...

AUDE appoints new Chair

AUDE appoints new Chair

AUDE (the Association for Directors of Estates) announces the appointment of Trevor Hum...

New chief

New chief

AUDE appoints new Executive Officer

Double honour

Double honour

Two Universities were recently honoured at the AUDE Awards. The University of Brighton ...

AUDE 2015 Conference Review

AUDE 2015 Conference Review

The AUDE 2015 conference, which was held at the University of Stirling from 30 March to...

Next Event

Event News

Facilities & IFSEC preview

Facilities & IFSEC preview

Be part of the largest global FM and security event when professionals gather this June in...

EAUC Annual Conference 2017

EAUC Annual Conference 2017

The packed conference will take place on 28–30 March at Lancaster University and will b...

The 2016 EAUC Annual Conference

The 2016 EAUC Annual Conference

The 2016 EAUC Annual Conference on 25th – 26th May at the University of the West of Eng...

MEB Media Limited

13 Princess Street,
 
Maidstone, Kent
 
ME14 1UR
 
United Kingdom
 

Site Map

Monthly Newsletter Signup

Name


Email Address