Catering and Procurement

Transforming catering and procurement and revitalizing local and sustainable food supply chains.

We believe that catering and procurement provide a uniquely powerful lever for promoting good food. By transforming catering across a wide range of settings - from nurseries, schools and colleges through hospitals and care homes to workplace canteens and smaller scale catering outlets - it is possible not only to improve the eating habits of many thousands of people but also to create the large scale demand for healthy, sustainable and local food needed to underpin a fundamental shift in the food production and supply system.

Change policy and practice to put good food on people’s plates

Brighton & Hove City Council's  procurement policy requires all Council food procurement contracts to meet minimum health and sustainability standards which mirror those of the Soil Association’s Bronze Food for Life Served Here. Contracts over £75k will be required to apply for the accreditation within the first year of their contract. Case study (p10).

Bristol City Council’s Good Food & Catering Procurement Policy involves a hierarchy of good food standards that support health and sustainability. This includes less sugar/salt/saturated fat and more fruit/vegetables/fibre as well as access to drinking water. It contributes to reducing the environmental impact of food/catering the Council provides/contracts/allows. The policy also supports Bristol’s Fairtrade City status and works towards the Soil Association Food for Life Served Here award criteria.

Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and The Highland Council’s Joint Procurement Strategy (2017 – 2022) includes health, reduction of packaging, food poverty, ethical trading and reduction in emissions/road miles as standard themes. ‘C&PS commit to offering assistance in terms of the procurement strands of the Sustainable Food Cities’. (p25)

Greater London Authority's healthy and sustainable food commitment for catering provided to London’s police, transport workers, fire brigade and GLA staff.

London Borough of Lambeth’s Responsible Procurement Policy (p26) highlights the various accreditations that the Borough is striving for or wishes to maintain and that procurement officers should consider in all food contracts. These include Fairtrade, RSPCA Freedom Food, Compassion in World Farming’s Good Pig, Good Chicken and/or Good Dairy standards.

Durham County Council has adopted a Sustainable and Healthy Food Policy for its staff, clients and visitors embedding good food into Council policy. It builds on Durham County Council Buying Standards for Food which include ethical and local sourcing with minimum animal welfare standards (free-range eggs and Red Tractor for meat, poultry and dairy); preference for seasonal produce; specifying fairly-traded or ethically-sourced for a range of foods; facilitating access to procurement contracts for small local producers; and maintaining Sustainable Fish City standards.

West Sussex County Council has introduced new healthy catering stipulations into catering contracts for school food, staff cafeteria and meals on wheels. These come into place when contracts are extended or re-tendered. Changes have been made in the display and offer of food.

Brighton University’s sustainable food policy covers Fairtrade, tap water, seasonal fruit & veg, organic milk, free-range eggs, sustainable fish and meat and dairy reduction.

Cardiff and Vale UHB hospital restaurants and retail catering outlets' vending machines must be 100% compliant with Welsh Government Guidance which provides for healthier/reduced sugar options and health-promoting branding.

The Royal Liverpool Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust’s Sustainability Plan for 2019-2020 which includes sustainable procurement, promotion of healthier food and a social value approach. Their Food and Drink Strategy includes ambitions to encourage healthy eating via staff restaurants, pricing and positioning, vending machines, communication with food contractors.

Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust removed fizzy drinks from their vending machines and replaced them with healthier snacks.

Stockport has been awarded Fairtrade Borough status for its commitment to supporting Fairtrade and sourcing Fairtrade products.

Tameside hospital is the first in Britain to stop selling sugary snacks and fizzy drinks, to remove all added sugar from the meals it prepares for visitors and staff and to provide low-carb options.

Brighton & Hove’s Primary School Meals Service serves all 64 Primary schools and has been found to not only improve lunch experience with a sustainability accreditation (Silver Food For Life Catering Mark) but has increased spend in the local economy; helped schools to meet Ofsted criteria; created 118 new jobs since 2011 with no zero hours contracts; helped address food poverty; and led to pledges to increase vegetable consumption amongst pupils via the Peas Please initiative.

Liverpool's Food for Thought is an innovative community-based organisation providing school catering at the Food for Life Served Here Gold accreditation level. It has produced six-week menu cycles that have up to three days of meat free meals made from organic and ethically sourced food. One partner school has an entirely vegetarian menu.

Bournemouth & Poole has become the first Sustainable Fish City thanks to commitments from the Local authority, schools, hospitals, universities, restaurants and workplaces.

The work of Food Cardiff through the Sustainable Fish Cities campaign has led to a change of policy for procuring fish within City of Cardiff Council Education Catering service, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff University and NHS Wales Shared Services. It is now having an impact on wider procurement policy within NHS Shared Services with the development of sustainability criteria on a contract by contract basis.

Nottingham University Hospitals is the first NHS Trust to achieve Gold Food for Life Catering Mark.

Nottingham University Hospitals is the first NHS Trust to achieve Gold Food for Life Catering Mark.

Oldham Education Catering Team won first place in the Public Sector Catering category at the Best of Organic Market Awards (run by the Soil Association) as well as being Gold Food For Life Served Here Award holders.

University of Portsmouth has achieved Good Pig, Good Dairy, Good Chicken and Good Egg Awards for its high animal welfare sourcing.

London Borough of Islington (p28) worked in partnership with schools and youth groups to encourage uptake of the Heathier Catering Commitment (HCC) by catering premises. The council is also using its procurement powers to promote take up of the HCC.

Lambeth Council is an accredited Living Wage Employer, ensuring that people employed by contractors and schools get the same benefit whilst working with local employers to help them become London Living Wage employers.

Cambridge City Council is an accredited Living Wage Employer and employs an officer 3 days per week to sign up local businesses to the Living Wage. It also commits to paying the Real Living Wage to all contracted staff engaged through the Council’s procurement processes.

Cardiff Council’s ambition is to make Cardiff a ‘Living Wage City’ and to this end have announced early 2018 that they are financially supporting employers by offering to pay up to 3 years of accreditation fees. The maximum support is £720 depending on the size of the organisation.

The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has achieved the Soil Association Food for Life Served Here Silver Award, recognising its use of fresh, healthy, ethical and locally sourced food for patients, staff and visitors at the Freeman Hospital.

Cambridgeshire County Council runs a Healthier Options scheme where local businesses can register to learn how to make their food healthier. 

London’s Healthy Catering Commitment provides food businesses that meet healthy catering criteria with a recognised brand to promote their efforts.

The Fairtrade Foundation provides resources and information for local authorities on developing Fairtrade procurement policies and gaining Fairtrade Town status.

Local Government Association’s Healthier Food Procurement guide includes a series of case studies showing county councils' actions to promote healthier food choices in public settings and sign-posts to further useful resources.

Public Health England have published Encouraging healthier ‘out of home’ food provision toolkit to support local councils and independent food businesses to provide and promote healthier options.

Public Health England have published a suite of guidance on healthier and more sustainable catering.

Health Care Without Harm organised a webinar on 'Transforming hospital food towards a more sustainable future' (20 Nov 2018).

Sustain has developed a model sustainable food policy to help public agencies and other large organisations improve their food procurement.

University of Bristol's policy briefing offers practical tips to leisure operators, schools, worksite catering procurement managers, food vendors, Local Government Associations and Wellbeing Boards to improve the balance of products provided in vending machines (e.g. in leisure venues, hospitals and workplaces), as a way to tackle obesity.

Wales’ Think Healthy Vending provides advice on the use of refrigerated vending machines in schools as part of a whole school approach to food and nutrition.

Sustain produced  a Good Food at Work guide to improve the catering in canteens or, for smaller organisations, the food you buy in for meetings and events.

Sustainable Fish City campaign provides advice for policy makers on adopting sustainable fish procurement policies.

The Taps are Turning describes the global and domestic shift toward tap water only policies in the private and public sector.

Sustain’s Good Food for London league table compares all the London boroughs’ achievements across a range of catering awards and initiatives.

National Farmer's Union published a guide for quality assurance schemes explaining how each one relates to sustainable food categories.

The Soil Association's Out to Lunch campaign calls on restaurant chains and supermarket cafes to improve the service and food they offer children by publishing annual league tables.

The Sustainable Restaurant Association’s Food Made Good programme supports the foodservice industry to source and serve sustainable food.

City and Guilds offers qualifications for chefs who want to integrate sustainability into professional kitchens, including waste management and food sourcing.

Food Ethics Council ‘Catering for sustainability: making the case for sustainable diets in foodservice’ guide identifies barriers for change and provides guidance to businesses.

Public Health England’s Strategies for Encouraging Healthier ‘Out of Home’ Food Provision toolkit assists local authorities across England in working with smaller food outlets, such as takeaways, restaurants, bakers, corner shops, leisure centres, children’s centres and nurseries, to help them offer healthier food and drinks.

SusCooks Training for Sustainable Cooking is an EU-funded e-learning course providing practical support and guidance to chefs and public sector caterers wishing to adopt more sustainable practices in the planning, procurement, preparation and promotion of their activity.

Sustain's Good Food Guide aims to provide advice on how to introduce simple sustainable practices within established restaurants, cafés and catering businesses.

Good Catch provides practical information and events for chefs, caterers and restaurateurs, making it easier for them to serve more sustainable seafood.

The Marine Stewardship Council’s Chain of Custody certification guide provides step-by-step guidance for businesses selling certified sustainable seafood.

Download our Good Policy for Good Food Guide

The local authority can adopt a Sustainable Food Procurement strategy or policy incorporating specific health and sustainability commitments. Local authorities typically procure primary school meals, community meals and food for leisure centres, local authority-owned care homes and local authority staff canteens and events.


Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and The Highland Council’s Joint Procurement Strategy (2017 – 2022) includes health, reduction of packaging, food poverty, ethical trading and reduction in emissions/road miles as standard themes. ‘C&PS commit to offering assistance in terms of the procurement strands of the Sustainable Food Cities’. (p25)

Brighton & Hove City Council's  procurement policy requires all Council food procurement contracts to meet minimum health and sustainability standards which mirror those of the Soil Association’s Bronze Food for Life Served Here. Contracts over £75k will be required to apply for the accreditation within the first year of their contract. Case study (p10).

Bristol City Council’s Good Food & Catering Procurement Policy (2018) involves a hierarchy of good food standards that support health and sustainability. This includes less sugar/salt/saturated fat and more fruit/vegetables/fibre as well as access to drinking water. It contributes to reducing the environmental impact of food/catering the Council provides/contracts/allows. The policy also supports Bristol’s Fairtrade City status and works towards the Soil Association Food for Life Served Here award criteria.

Durham County Council has adopted a Sustainable and Healthy Food Policy for its staff, clients and visitors embedding good food into Council policy. It builds on Durham County Council Buying Standards for Food which include ethical and local sourcing with minimum animal welfare standards (free-range eggs and Red Tractor for meat, poultry and dairy); preference for seasonal produce; specifying fairly-traded or ethically-sourced for a range of foods; facilitating access to procurement contracts for small local producers; and maintaining Sustainable Fish City standards.

Greater London Authority (GLA) adopted a healthy and sustainable food policy for catering provided to London's police, transport workers, fire brigade and GLA staff.

London Borough of Lambeth’s Responsible Procurement Policy (p26) highlights the various accreditations that the Borough is striving for or wishes to maintain and that procurement officers should consider in all food contracts. These include Fairtrade, RSPCA Freedom Food, Compassion in World Farming’s Good Pig, Good Chicken and/or Good Dairy standards.

NHS Trusts are responsible for procuring hospital food, both for patients and for staff & visitor restaurants. The NHS Standard Contract 2020/21 requires all NHS trusts to develop and implement a food and drink strategy setting out how it will ensure that retail outlets, vending machines, catering provision and facilities offer access to healthy eating and drinking options 24 hours a day. Universities can also develop their own policies.


Brighton University’s sustainable food policy covers Fairtrade, tap water, waste & recycling, seasonal fruit & veg, organic milk, free-range eggs, sustainable fish and meat and dairy reduction.

The work of Food Cardiff through the Sustainable Fish Cities campaign has led to a change of policy for procuring fish within City of Cardiff Council Education Catering service, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff University and NHS Wales Shared Services. It is now having an impact on wider procurement policy within NHS Shared Services with the development of sustainability criteria on a contract by contract basis.

The Royal Liverpool Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust reviewed its Sustainability Plan for 2017-2018 which includes sustainable procurement, promotion of healthier food and a social value approach. Their Food and Drink Strategy includes ambitions to encourage healthy eating via staff restaurants, pricing and positioning, vending machines and communication with food contractors.

The Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust has been recognised for its outstanding work to provide good local and nutritional food for people using its mental health services. The Trust’s policies result in high levels of traceability, menus which use less common cuts of meat and sourcing ‘wonky’ fruit that doesn’t meet supermarket standards. 85% of food is sourced locally, yet the Trust has cut its fruit and vegetable bill by 20% and meat bill by 10%.

Health and Wellbeing Boards can recommend to Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) and NHS Trusts that they take up the hospital food Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN). The CQUIN framework allows CCGs to make hospitals’ annual income conditional on achieving locally agreed goals to improve quality, among which is improving hospital food (CQUIN 1b ‘Healthy food for NHS staff, visitors and patients’).


Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust and South Warwickshire NHS Foundation Trust agreed with their CCG to use the CQUIN framework to improve hospital food for staff and visitors through Food for Life Served Here and to improve the mealtime experience for patients by improving their ward level foodservice practices.

Local authorities can promote healthy diets by improving the quality of food and drink available in leisure centres, sports centres and children’s centres’ vending machines. Existing vending contracts may mean that less healthy options cannot be phased out completely, but this should not prevent healthier ones being made more prominently available. Local authorities can begin by consulting with the vending operator to see what changes can be made and be ready to specify nutrition standards when contracts come up for renewal.


Cardiff and Vale UHB hospital restaurants and retail catering outlets' vending machines must be 100% compliant with Welsh Government Guidance which provides for healthier/reduced sugar options and health-promoting branding. 

Health Promoting Hospital Vending Charter

  1. All foods and drinks supplied / sold from vending machines must be the healthier option within its product range – Good for your health.
  2. Foods and drinks supplied / sold from vending machines must not be damaging to dental health – Safe for your teeth.
  3. Methods of storing and handling food and drink supplied / sold from vending machines should comply with a food safety management plan, based on principles of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) – Safe to eat and drink.
  4. Branding on vending machines must support health promoting messages – Promoting good health.

Healthy vending in hospitals will support the concept of the Health Promoting Hospital – Hospitals leading the way.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s Excess Weight Partnership Strategy 2016-2020 aims to achieve ‘an increase in the provision of healthier food options in new and existing food establishments, for example, premises, workplaces and leisure facilities’. The Strategy includes a provision for 25% healthy snack options to be introduced in all vending machines in all six leisure centres from 2015. Progress against actions is monitored by the Health and Wellbeing Board.

Southwark Council leisure centres are contractually obliged to provide healthy options for users. The new contract awarded to Everyone Active included the following clause: ‘The Contractor shall provide a vending service suitable for its Users. There shall be an agreed range of vended snacks and beverages available at specified times, with items well stocked and within sell-by date. At least 50% of these items shall be healthy options. This will be reviewed annually with the Authority.’

The vending machines and leisure centre cafes have strict policies around the on-site food offer:

  • All snack products in the vending machines are under 250 calories with a selection under 99 calories.
  • 80% of drinks are sugar free and rest are low/no added sugar. There is an energy drinks range in place, but these are marketed for people who are doing intense workouts of over 60 minutes.
  • No non-healthy promotions.
  • Healthy range in prime area of vendor for both adults and children.
  • Healthy branding to notify customer of the health range.
  • Drinks marketing focusing on Zero calories and sugar free drinks.

Kids drinks range with no added sugar.

Laurentiisa, V, Hunta, D, Rogersa, C. Septembre 2017. ‘Contribution of school meals to climate change and water use in England’. Elsevier. Vol 123 pp204-2011. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876610217328126

‘This study quantified the carbon footprint (CF) and water footprint (WF) of primary school meals served in England. The contribution to the total impacts of different food groups was analysed: meat dishes were responsible for 52% of the total CF and 38% of the total WF. Chocolate desserts contributed 19% of the total WF. One fifth of the impacts were associated with the production of plate leftovers. Win-win strategies that achieve a reduction in both impact categories were identified. These results have implications for policies promoting sustainability in the public food sector’ (abstract).

Heery, E. Nash, D. Hann, D. April 2017. ‘The Living Wage Employer Experience’ Cardiff University Business School and Living Wage Foundation.47 pages https://www.livingwage.org.uk/news/real-living-wage-good-business-good-society 

The survey of more than 800 accredited real Living Wage businesses, ranging from SME’s to FTSE 100 companies, found that 93% reported they had gained as a business after becoming a real Living Wage employer.

Fabian Commission. October 2015. ‘Hungry for Change. The final report of the Fabian Commission on Food and Poverty’. Fabian Society Report. 44 pages http://www.fabians.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/Hungry-for-Change-web-27.10.pdf

At a national level, the report recommends that ‘all governments in the UK should ensure all directly and indirectly employed public sector workers are paid at least the level of the living wage, and they should champion the voluntary living wage rates in the private sector’ (p33)

Fairtrade International. 2014. ‘Monitoring the scope and benefits of Fairtrade’. Fairtrade International. http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/en/resources-library/researching/Monitoring%20and%20impact%20resources

The report finds that individual farmers benefit through increased income as a result of the Fairtrade Premium which also enables organisations benefiting from the Premium to invest in the viability of their businesses, support community development and provide services for workers (education, housing, healthcare).

Sustainable Restaurant Association. ‘The Sustainable Restaurant Association Guide to Sustainable Kitchens’. Sustainable Restaurant Association 21 pages http://www.thesra.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/SRA-Space-Sustainable-Kitchen-Guide-FINAL.pdf

Details the reasons for businesses to adopt sustainable kitchen practices in terms of energy, water and waste savings (eg up to 15% savings on energy bills), environmental degradation, and consumer preference with practical guidance on how to achieve these changes.

Food Ethics Council. May 2016. ‘Catering for sustainability: making the case for sustainable diets in foodservice’. Food Ethics Council. 59 pages. https://www.foodethicscouncil.org/resource/catering-for-sustainability-full-report/

Makes the business case for foodservice companies to cater for sustainable diets and informs on market trends. It identifies barriers for change and provides guidance to businesses including sharing best practice and collaborating beyond zero-sum competitiveness.

New Economics Foundation. May 2011. ‘The Benefits of Procuring School Meals through the Food for Life Partnership. An Economic Analysis’ NEF. 40 pages. http://www.foodforlife.org.uk/~/media/files/evaluation%20reports/fflp-nef----benefits-of-local-procurement.pdf

NEF looks at the economic benefits of the Food for Life Schools programme and finds that in Nottinghamshire the programme returns £3.11 in social, economic and environmental value for every £1 spent. In addition, ‘comparing current spending and re-spending in Nottinghamshire now and prior to a focus on procuring locally and seasonally shows that the total amount of money circulating in the local economy from this source has increased substantially, from £181,418 in 2004 to £3,826,688 currently.’

Soil Association Food for Life. 2016. “A Healthier Place: The impact of the Food for Life programme”. SA Food for Life https://www.foodforlife.org.uk/about-us/our-impact/evaluation-reports 

Food for Life’s programme evaluation looked at the health, economic and environmental impacts including increase in free school meal uptake in FFL schools, increase in the consumption of fruit and vegetables for children at school and at home and for their parents, increase in the procurement of more ethical, sustainable and local produce via the Food for Life Served Here.

The Food Foundation. January 2016. ‘Force-Fed. Does the food system constrict healthy choices for typical British families?’. The Food Foundation. 64 pages. http://foodfoundation.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/The-Food-Foundation-64pp-A4-Landscape-Brochure-AW-V32.pdf

The report studies the extent to which unhealthy eating patterns are becoming more common as we increasingly ‘eat out’. In addition to planning regulations to limit the number of fast food outlets (mentioned above), the report recommends many other measures to ‘incentivise food service providers to provide healthier food’. These include ‘setting upper limits for the formulation of processed foods’ for specific nutrients; making Government Buying Standards mandatory for all public procurement; using VAT to support healthy choices; increasing school meal uptake and improving food in schools and workplaces (p27, 35).

PHE. March 2017. ‘Strategies for Encouraging Healthier ‘Out of Home’ Food Provision A toolkit for local councils working with small food businesses’ Public Health England. 63 pages. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/encouraging-healthier-out-of-home-food-provision

A systematic review of the national levers that make the case for local authority interventions in the following areas:

  • making healthy options available in the public sector, particularly through promotion of the GBSF
  • re-committing to the Healthy Start scheme
  • encouraging all schools to commit to the School Food Standards
  • increase access to healthy foods in disadvantaged areas
  • to support local authorities to deliver whole systems approaches to tackle obesity, including through supporting healthier and more sustainable food procurement
  • use existing planning levers to limit the growth of hot food takeaways, for example by developing supplementary planning policies
  • work with local outlets and partners to increase access to healthy food choices. (Annexe D p17)

Get involved in a campaign

Organisations

Sustainable Restaurant Association helps restaurants improve their overall sustainability.

 

Improving connections and collaboration across the local supply chain

Brighton and Hove’s Good Food Procurement Group includes the City Council, Universities, Hospitals, Community Meals and workplace canteens. They work together to share good practice and increase sustainable procurement in the city.

Bristol’s Public Sector Food Procurement Group (p43) was established in 2012 driven by Bristol’s Food Policy Council and includes senior food procurement officers from many organisations. Since then, member organisations have increased their procurement of local food and improved their ratings under the Food for Life Served Here.

London’s Contracts Supply Group is a network of boroughs, schools, universities and care services using collective purchasing to buy £15 million of more sustainable food.

Good Food Oxford have convened the Oxfordshire Catering & Procurement Working Group which gathers representatives from higher education, restaurants, healthcare, the catering-contracting industry, tourism and local government.

Scotland’s Sustainable Procurement Working Group brings together sustainable development and procurement officers to tackle sustainable procurement issues.

Food Plymouth organised a Plymouth Food Expo to bring together food producers and local buyers, including restaurants, hotels, schools and universities.

Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust's Local Sourcing Scheme successfully united small suppliers and growers into a local produce network.

London’s Urban Food Fortnight includes a series of meet the buyer events to help link caterers and buyers with London’s food producers.

Middlesbrough Food Partnership has organised a number of ‘meet the supplier’ events and procurement workshops (p56). As a result, local suppliers have been able to access procurement markets such as Teeside University and Middlesbrough College. A local supplier directory is also run by Growing Middlesbrough.

Manchester Veg People is a cooperative of local organic growers working with and supplying buyers from restaurants, caterers and public sector organisations.

A West of England Food Procurement Group has been set up by the 4 West of England local authorities to provide leadership on healthy and sustainable food procurement. Membership includes procurement, catering and public health staff from the four West of England local authorities along with representatives from local supply groups and other partners.

NHS Procurement and Food Network enables users to share best practice in order to promote sustainable food and implement sustainable procurement strategies.

This Soil Association report shows the opportunity that short supply chains present for local economies, tackling climate change and improving food security and post-Covid recovery in the UK food network.

Food for Life Supplier Scheme helps procurers and caterers find producers via a certified supplier list to meet the Food for Life Served Here standards.

Sustain maintains a number of searchable directories of local and sustainable food and drink producers for caterers, hospitality, events organisers and restaurants.

DEFRA's plan for public procurement of food and catering aims to support opportunities for smaller suppliers and British produce.

The Soil Association’s Selling into Foodservice guide helps organic producers supply the public and private foodservice industry.

International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems. June 2016. ‘From Uniformity to Diversity: A Paradigm Shift from Industrial Agriculture to Agroecological Systems’. IPES-Food. 96 pages. http://www.ipes-food.org/images/Reports/UniformityToDiversity_FullReport.pdf  

IPES calls for agroecological public procurement that would support the demand for food produced within agro-ecological systems while markets develop.  Local procurement ‘could be favoured and coordinated through localized food systems planning processes’ (p71).

The report highlights the multiple environmental, social, health and economic benefits of agroecological farming systems as opposed to industrial farming and calls for all stakeholders at a global, national and local level to support the transition (policy incentives, food policies, peer-to-peer action research, procurement, short-supply chains etc).

High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition/FAO. September 2017. ‘Nutrition and Food Systems’. High Level Panel of Experts for Food Security and Nutrition/FAO. 152 pages http://www.fao.org/fileadmin/user_upload/hlpe/hlpe_documents/HLPE_Reports/HLPE-Report-12_EN.pdf

This report makes the case for interventions that contribute to healthier food environments and shape dietary patterns in order to improve nutrition and food security. Recommendations include (pp19-20):

  • Improve connectivity between rural, peri-urban, and urban supply and demand in order to propose to consumers a greater diversity of nutritious foods and support local economies, through appropriate infrastructure, markets and technologies, including e-commerce;
  • Provide financial and promotional incentives for retailers and food outlet owners, including street food vendors, to sell safe foods, made with less sodium and a higher proportion of healthy oils, fruits and vegetables;
  • Make nutritious foods more accessible and convenient in public places (schools, hospitals, etc.), as well as in home and school gardens, and rural marketplaces to provide greater dietary diversity and quality.
  • Design and implement policies and regulations that improve the built environment to promote nutritious food, including zoning regulations and tax regimes to minimize food deserts and swamps.
  • Promote food cultures, including cooking skills and the importance of food in cultural heritage, as a vehicle to promote nutrition literacy.

Get involved in a campaign

Organisations

The Soil Association works with players along the supply chain to improve sourcing practices.

Resources

Latest resources

What you can do

Brighton & Hove City Council's  procurement policy requires all Council food procurement contracts to meet minimum health and sustainability standards which mirror those of the Soil Association’s Bronze Food for Life Served Here. Contracts over £75k will be required to apply for the accreditation within the first year of their contract. Case study (p10).

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Guides & toolkits

This Soil Association report shows the opportunity that short supply chains present for local economies, tackling climate change and improving food security and post-Covid recovery in the UK food network.

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Local Policies

Aberdeen City Council, Aberdeenshire Council and The Highland Council’s Joint Procurement Strategy (2017 – 2022) includes health, reduction of packaging, food poverty, ethical trading and reduction in emissions/road miles as standard themes. ‘C&PS commit to offering assistance in terms of the procurement strands of the Sustainable Food Cities’. (p25)

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