A first for the University of Edinburgh's student catering

23rd January 2013

EAUC Member, the University of Edinburgh has become the first Scottish University to achieve the prestigious bronze Food for Life Catering Mark, in recognition of the institution’s commitment to serving fresh, healthy meals that students can trust.
The University has achieved the award for the 24,000 meals they provide per week to the 2,000 students in Pollock Halls.
The Soil Association’s Food for Life Catering Mark is a UK-wide certification scheme which provides an independent guarantee that food being served is fresh, free from controversial additives and better for animal welfare. 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. 
More than 3.5 million Food for Life meals are served in Scotland every year. Edinburgh University is the first higher education institution to achieve the accolade and joins Stirling Council, Highland Council and East Ayrshire Council in providing Food for Life accredited meals. 
The achievement is part of an innovative, city-wide Edinburgh Food for Life project. The University of Edinburgh has joined forces with City of Edinburgh Council and NHS Lothian to transform food culture across the capital. The project, which is supported by Soil Association Scotland’s Food for Life programme, aims to roll out the Catering Mark at a number of key locations, encouraging people across Edinburgh to benefit from healthy and sustainable food.
Commenting on the achievement of the Catering Mark, Ian Macaulay, Assistant Director (Catering) at The University of Edinburgh said: 
“The University of Edinburgh has a history of achieving awards and playing a pioneering role in sustainable issues. With budgets to manage and our student’s needs at the centre of the food we provide, the catering team has overcome a number of challenges to meet the high standards required by the Catering Mark. Now students can be sure that food isn’t just freshly prepared using quality ingredients, but is also supporting the local economy and higher standards of animal welfare.”
Explaining the importance of the Catering Mark, Laura Stewart, Director Soil Association Scotland said:
"The bronze Catering Mark is an excellent achievement which recognises the vital role that fresh, seasonal meals play in healthy, planet-friendly menus, especially for large-scale catering. Students can be vocal champions for environmental issues, so we're delighted that the University of Edinburgh is engaged in sustainable food issues and is committed to providing a high standard of fresh, tasty food.” 

The EAUC fully supports the Food for Life Accreditation. At the 2012 Annual Conference, the EAUC and the University of York’s catering team worked with the Soil Association to offer Catering Mark standard food for the Conference and then again at the 2012 Green Gown Awards. Our post-Conference survey showed that our delegates took great interest in this initiative with 86% of delegates stating they ‘strongly agree’ or ‘agree’ that they valued having a menu that was accredited by Food for Life.

Due to this interest, we worked in partnership with Food for Life to offer EAUC Members a fantastic free consultation (worth £450) so you can take your first steps to demonstrating to your institution's staff and students that you can deliver menus that use fresh, seasonal, local and organic ingredients, high welfare meat and sustainable fish. Find out more about this offer (Members need to log in to view)

(From L to R) Ian Macaulay, Assistant Director (Catering) and Julian Prosser, Kitchen Manager (Catering) of The University of Edinburgh with Joe Hind, Supply Chain Manager, Food for Life Scotland A first for the University of Edinburgh's student catering image #2 A first for the University of Edinburgh's student catering image #3