Voluntary best practice criteria

Criteria
At least 20%*of the total monetary value of primary commodity (i.e. raw ingredient) food and drink procured is produced to certified or assured higher level environmental standards (organic, LEAF ,or any regional or national equivalent Integrated Production certification).

*The 20% is of the total monetary value and can be made up of any combination of commodities allowing the procurer flexibility to find the best solutions for their circumstances.

Rationale
Farmers are stewards of more than 70% of EU land. The UK is working for reform of the CAP so that farmers are subsidised only for producing societal benefits (particularly for environmental outcomes) which the market cannot otherwise provide. Encouraging the use of food from land that is farmed organically or in other ways that promote bio-diversity, such as integrated farm management systems (e.g. LEAF Marque), supports these policies.
Subject Matter
Specific: Procurement of food meeting higher environmental standards

Generic: Generic: Procurement of catering services that includes the use of sustainable food

Specification
For a specific commodity: [x% of monetary value] of [primary food commodity or drink] must be either organically produced according to Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 or produced in accordance with the criteria of Integrated Production or equivalent systems**.

Or for a catering service: 20% of total monetary value of primary food commodities and drink must be either organically produced according to Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 or produced in accordance with the criteria of Integrated Production or equivalent systems**.

**Products carrying a Community or national organic label will be deemed to comply, products carrying the regional/national Integrated Production label will be deemed to comply(including LEAF Marque). If the products are not certified, the bidder will have to provide appropriate evidence (such as a list of chemicals used in production, welfare conditions of farms, etc.) of compliance with each of the requirements laid down in regional/national Integrated Production standards.

References
EC Council Regulation 834/2007 for organically produced food. You can read Council Regulation (EC) No 834/2007 here:

http://eurlex.europa.eu/LexUriServ… (pdf)

An easy way to be sure that food has been produced in accordance with the requirements of EC Council Regulation 834/2007 is to check if it carries the symbol of one of the organic control bodies approved by Defra under the regulation. You can find them listed with links to their websites at:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/growing/organic…

LEAF is one example of an Integrated Production system: www.leafuk.org

Other European Integrated Crop Management systems can be found here: http://ec.europa.eu/environment/agriculture… (pdf)

Information about the Entry Level Stewardship Scheme can be found at: http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/farming…

Criteria
All tea, coffee, cocoa and bananas are certified to be fairly traded.
Rationale
To help to promote ethical procurement practices and better social and economic conditions for producers and employees involved in the supply chain, for example providing assurance that minimum employment and pay standards are being observed. In this way public sector organisations can help build sustainable economies for marginalised and disadvantaged producers in the developing world.
Subject Matter
Specific: Procurement of ethically traded produce

Generic: Generic: Procurement of catering services that includes the use of sustainable food

Contract Performance Conditions
EU procurement law prevents social and ethical aspects that are not relevant to the characteristics or performance of the products being taken account of in the technical specifications, however social criteria can be included in contract performance conditions:

Producers must be paid a price permitting them to cover their costs of sustainable production, such as decent salaries and labour conditions for the workers concerned, environmentally friendly production methods and improvements of the production processes and working conditions.

References
Compliance with the conditions can be met by certification to Fair Trade, Rainforest Alliance or similar:

http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/

http://www.rainforest-alliance.org/

Criteria
Savoury snacks are only available in packet sizes of 35g or less.
Rationale
People are eating too much salt and fat. By choosing smaller portion sizes of savoury snacks will help to reduce the amount of energy, fats, and salt in the diet. The 35g portion size has been chosen based on market availability.
Subject Matter
Specific: Procurement of smaller portions of savoury snacks.

Generic: Procurement of catering services that meet higher nutritional standards.

Specification
Savoury snacks [including all baked and non baked products, standard potato crisps and all products made from reconstituted potato, wheat, rice and corn including tortilla chips] are only available in 35g packets or less.

  • Nuts and seeds are not included.
References
http://www.nhs.uk/change4life/Pages/change-for-life.aspx
Criteria
Confectionery, packet sweet snacks, sweet biscuits & cereal bars are only available in the smallest standard single serve portion size available within the market.
Rationale
People are consuming too much fat and sugar. Choosing smaller portion sizes of confectionery and packet sweet snacks will help to reduce the amount of added sugars and fats, especially saturated fat in the diet. Reducing sugar in the diet is proven to reduce dental caries.
Subject Matter
Specific: Procurement of smaller portions of confectionary and sweet snacks.

Generic: Procurement of catering services that meet higher nutritional standards.

Specification
All confectionery and packet sweet snacks [e.g.. chocolate bars, sweets, sweet biscuits and cereal bars] must be provided in the smallest standard serving size available.
References
http://www.nhs.uk/change4life/Pages/change-for-life.aspx
Criteria
All sugar containing drinks (including fruit juices) are available in no more than 330ml portion sizes (excluding hot drinks).
Rationale
Drinks containing sugar contribute to dental caries. Also, sugars are a source of calories, limiting the portion sizes available supports a reduction in calorie intake.
Subject Matter
Specific: Procurement of sugar containing drinks including fruit juices in 330ml portions or less.

Generic: Procurement of catering services that meet higher nutritional standards.

Specification
Drinks [i.e. carbonated drinks with sugar, sports drinks, fruit juices and juice based drinks, diluted squashes or cordials, smoothies and milkshakes] containing more than 0.5g sugar/100ml, must be in portions sizes less than 330ml.

This does not include hot drinks and milk.

References
http://www.nhs.uk/change4life/Pages/change-for-life.aspx

Criteria
Menu cycles are analysed to meet stated nutrient based standards relevant to the major population subgroup of catering provision
Rationale
Nutrient-based standards are a clear and objective way of helping to reduce intakes of fat, sugar and salt and increase the amount of nutrients or foods in the diet where intakes are lower than Government recommendations.
Subject Matter
Specific: Provision of menus that meet nutrient based standards.

Generic: Procurement of catering services that meet higher nutritional standards.

Specification
This is a technical criterion requiring the support of a dietitian or registered nutritionist for this to be done accurately. Many catering service providers have nutritionists or dietitians employed and can provide this service.

Menu cycles must be nutritionally analysed using appropriate software.

The analysis is compared to nutrient based standards which are appropriate (in terms of age; gender, etc.) for the consumer group you are catering for.

Ensure that actual food provision is compared with planned food provision.

References
The following nutrient based standards are available:

Healthier and more sustainable catering: Nutrition principles

Healthier and more sustainable catering: A toolkit for serving food to adults. (Relevant to 19-74 years)

Both of the above are available at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics…

For elderly people in residential care (to be updated): http://www.food.gov.uk/healthiereating/healthycatering…

For school lunches: http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/doc_item…

Guidance on conducting nutritional analysis of menus:

http://www.schoolfoodtrust.org.uk/content…

Translating nutrient standards into catering provision:

http://www.cwt.org.uk

Criteria
Menus (for food and beverages) include calorie and allergen labelling.
Rationale
Calorie labelling in catering settings provides people with the information they need to make informed choices when eating out, and gives them a greater ability to control and balance their energy intake with their needs.

Foods served by caterers can pose a risk to consumers who have food allergies or intolerances and it can be difficult for those consumers to select suitable meals and foods unless there is clear, consistent labelling about the potential allergens the food contains or may contain. Ensuring that there is a clear system for providing allergen information to consumers along with adequate staff training reduces the risk of someone suffering a reaction through exposure to an allergen – for a small number of allergy sufferers a reaction could be life threatening.

Subject Matter
Specific: Providing consumers with calorie and allergen information.

Generic: Procurement of catering services that meet higher nutritional standards.

Specification
Calorie content of menu items will be available from menu analysis.

This information is consistent with principles agreed by the Food Network of the Responsibility Deal.

When displaying calorie information it is recommended that you follow these 4 principles of calorie labelling:

  • Display calorie information clearly and prominently at point of choice. In quick service settings, point of choice would mean the menu boards, unless there is robust evidence to show that other points of choice are equally effective for consumers.
  • Provide calorie information for standardised food and drink items sold (standardised is defined as a reproducible product that is offered for at least 30 days a year),
  • Provide calorie information per portion/item/meal; and for multi-portion or sharing items provide the number of portions,
  • Display reference information on calorie requirement (e.g. women need around 2,000 calories per day) clearly and prominently and in a way that is appropriate for the consumer.

Further guidance on these principles is available at: http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh… (pdf)

Any of the 14 allergenic ingredients that must be labelled if added as deliberate ingredients: cereals containing gluten; crustaceans; eggs; fish; peanuts; soybeans; milk; nuts; celery; mustard; sesame seeds; sulphur dioxide and sulphites; lupin and molluscs. If a food item containing an allergen is substituted in place of an item which did not contain the allergen it is important that the allergy information is updated accordingly.

References
A number of catering companies are already displaying calorie information and this may give you ideas on formats to use. Go to: http://www.food.gov.uk/healthiereating…

Look at the FSA’s best practice guidance to help organisations provide allergen information; see: http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs… (pdf)

Technical support from a dietitian or registered nutritionist will be helpful in achieving this criterion.

Criteria
Any contractor has a food waste minimisation plan in place, including actions and estimated quantifiable waste reductions. NB: subject to further work led by Defra, it is expected that this will become a minimum mandatory criterion in the future.
Rationale
In businesses whose primary function is to supply prepared food to customers on a for-profit basis (hotels, pubs, fast food and other restaurants) kitchen food waste comprises c.20-50% of all waste, and at least 60% of this food waste is actually avoidable, i.e. could have been eaten at some point. The wholesale value of a tonne of food in the catering sector is estimated at c. £1700, and about 3.8t of CO2 equivalent emissions are created in producing, distributing and ultimately disposing of every tonne of food and drink that is unnecessarily wasted. Whilst costs and levels of avoidable waste may differ in businesses who provide a catering service within a facility managed by another organisation (such as a government building), this still suggests that there is significant opportunity for catering services suppliers to reduce their costs and environmental impact by reducing the amount of food they waste.

Many food waste minimisation activities are reasonably simple and cheap to implement, including many of those listed in the checklist below, and can lead to cost savings within a short period.

Defra will continue to build the evidence base on the actions suppliers should take, and their respective costs and benefits, with a view to making the current best practice standard mandatory in the future.

Subject Matter
Procurement of sustainable on-site catering services.
Specification
A supplier will:

  1. Develop and implement a food waste minimisation plan (using the indicative checklist, below as a guideline on potential areas to cover), setting out:
    1. specific actions that will be undertaken to review and improve practices with the aim of reducing on-site food waste, including timescales for implementation; and
    2. how the impact of these measures and overall quantities of food waste arising will be monitored/measured;

    and report regularly to the client on progress on implementing the plan, the impact of the actions taken, and overall quantities of food waste arising; and

  2. Train all staff on the impact of food waste, the importance of food waste minimisation and the procedures which must be implemented to ensure good practice (e.g. food ordering, stock rotation, menu planning), and incorporate these into staff training materials, handbooks and guidance.

Indicative checklist:

Areas where a supplier can potentially improve practice to reduce avoidable food waste, in working towards meeting either the minimum mandatory or voluntary best practice standards include, but are not limited to, the following:

  1. Monitoring where waste arises to establish where action is needed, for example:
    • waste arising in food supply (over-ordering, damage, storage, surplus stock etc.);
    • waste arising in food preparation and service (off-cuts, leftovers etc.);
    • waste arising at the consumption stage (food left on plates etc.);
  2. Ordering the appropriate amount of food through effective forecasting:
    • check food supplied against demand from customers;
    • set up a review and learning process to respond to measured data;
    • match supply with customer demand;
    • manage pack sizes to avoid surpluses;
    • arrange delivery schedules and rotate stock according to shelf life;
    • arrange take-back (sale or return) of unused stock where appropriate (e.g. beverages, dry food);
  3. Ensuring appropriate storage for food to minimise waste;
    • provide appropriate storage facilities for food supplies;
    • provide guidance and training for staff on food storage and equipment usage;
    • ensure clear food labelling (date, storage requirements etc);
  4. Managing what is ordered and what is prepared:
    • consider buying pre-prepared or frozen food where appropriate;
    • include the use of leftovers within meal planning (e.g. use of surplus vegetables in soup) where this does not compromise food safety;
    • donate good quality surplus/unused food to a food donation scheme;
  5. Ensuring appropriate portions are offered to customers:
    • review customer waste and adjust portion sizes and menu items accordingly;
    • offer different portion sizes where appropriate;
    • allow “doggy bag” removal of leftovers where this does not compromise food safety;
    • use customer communications to promote waste minimisation;
  6. Communicating the impacts of food waste to consumers on site and highlighting opportunities for them to help minimise food waste on site:
    • provide succinct information (e.g. at point of sale) highlighting the supplier’s aims of reducing waste and encouraging customers to help, for example by only taking as much as food as they can eat;
    • where a range of portion sizes are made available, ensuring customers know this;
    • where “doggy bags” are made available, ensuring customers know this;
  7. Provide appropriate training to staff in all of the above areas.

Where a supplier has already taken any of these actions, they should be able to provide evidence on what they have done and what impact this has had.

For more information suppliers should contact Chris Mills at WRAP mailto:chris.mills@wrap.org.uk

Efforts to minimise food waste should never compromise hygiene or food safety. In fact, taking appropriate safety measures can contribute to minimising avoidable food waste. For example, ensuring foods are being stored correctly keeps them at their freshest for longest (wastage through spoilage thus minimised) and for some foods (e.g. raw meat/fish – in fact anything with a ‘use by’ date) is an essential aspect of basic food safety. The Food Standards Agency provide guidance on the main UK and EU legislation on food safety and hygiene which suppliers need to be aware of and must comply with.

References
Sustainable Restaurant Association

WRAP Rethink Waste online training programme – a free online training programme, primarily aimed at manufacturers, to help them reduce waste, improve resource efficiency and save money.

Criteria
An appropriately licensed separate food waste collection service should be included (either as part of overall site waste management or as part of on-site catering services). The food waste collected should be sent for treatment either at an anaerobic digestion (AD) or in-vessel composting (IVC) facility, or other suitable treatment method other than landfill.

NB: subject to further work led by Defra, it is expected that this will become a minimum mandatory criterion in the future.

Rationale
In businesses whose primary function is to supply prepared food to customers on a for-profit basis (hotels, pubs, fast food and other restaurants) kitchen food waste comprises c.20-50% of all waste. In government buildings there is additional waste to consider from staff kitchenettes etc. Across Defra’s Nobel complex where c.2000 people are based, for example, around 30 tonnes of food waste is collected annually (c.15kg/person/year).

Food waste creates significant environmental impact when disposed of in landfill, where it biodegrades in the absence of oxygen and releases methane, a greenhouse gas 22 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Recycling food waste, particularly through anaerobic digestion generates a wide range of environmental benefits. For food waste to be recycled it needs to be collected separately from other waste materials and potential contaminants.

Providing recycling services that target high volume recyclable waste like food waste can also lead to savings in refuse disposal costs, including avoided landfill tax (currently at £48 per tonne and set to rise by £8 a year until at least 2014/15).

Subject Matter
Procurement of sustainable on-site catering services and/or sustainable waste management services.
Specification
An appropriately licensed separate food waste collection service should be included (either as part of overall site waste management or as part of on-site catering services). The food waste collected should be sent for treatment either at an anaerobic digestion (AD) or in-vessel composting (IVC) facility, or other suitable treatment method other than landfill.

To achieve this, the department should procure a food waste collection service which provides dedicated internal containers for catering staff to separate food waste easily, and external storage bins for cleaning staff to deposit food for collection. The collection should be undertaken weekly as a minimum. External storage bins should be less than 240 litre wheeled bins in size so as to avoid manual handling risks to staff emptying or manoeuvring containers. Emptying of internal food waste containers into and external storage bin should be included in the cleaning contract.

Departments may also require their catering services supplier or waste management services supplier to ensure training of all staff as to the impact of food waste, the importance of food waste recycling (alongside food waste prevention, where possible) and the procedures which must be implemented to ensure good practice, and incorporate these into staff training materials, handbooks and guidance.

References
(1) The NetRegs Waste Directory and WRAP’s Recycle at Work offer an easy way to find out where you can recycle or dispose of business waste, including food waste.

(2) WRAP’s Guidance for Local Authorities Considering Food Waste Collection from Businesses and Schools which considers costs and practicalities around setting up a service.

(3) WRAP’s guidance on recycling for the hospitality industry – why to do it, how to do it, important points to consider.

Criteria
Food and drink to be consumed in restaurants and canteens must be served using cutlery, glassware and crockery which are reusable and washable.
Rationale
Using reusable and washable cutlery, glassware and crockery reduces the amount of waste that must be collected and disposed, although it is recognised that this may not be deliverable in all circumstances on the Government estate.

In addition, napkins and kitchen paper should meet the best practice Government Buying Standard for tissue paper (see 1 below).

Subject Matter
Procurement of sustainable on-site catering operation (light catering equipment)
Specification
Food and drink to be consumed in on-site restaurants and canteens must be served using cutlery, glassware and crockery which are reusable and washable.
References
(1) GBS for tissue paper: http://sd.defra.gov.uk/advice/public/buying…
Criteria
Packaging waste in delivering food for the catering service is minimised so that (i) tertiary and secondary packaging consists of at least 70% recycled cardboard; (ii) where other materials are used, the tertiary packaging must either be reusable or all materials contain some recycled content, and recyclable.
Rationale
These criteria should be seen in the context of packaging waste recovery and recycling targets for the UK for 2011 and 2012 (see 1 below), as well as the Courtauld Commitment to improve the resource efficiency and reduce the carbon and wider environmental impact of the grocery retail sector (see reference 2 below). A responsibility deal with the hospitality and catering sector, which would include a similar objective, is being worked on. It is possible to identify good practice in catering services at the distribution and delivery stages, for the following materials:

- Cardboard is commonly used as secondary and, sometimes, tertiary packaging (see 3 below), with at least 60% recycled content being the norm among major catering suppliers, with the possible exception of food sourced at a long distance, where stronger cardboard is often needed. The cardboard is then recycled.

- Reusing wooden pallets or plastic containers, particularly in pooling systems, help to significantly reduce packaging waste and improve resource efficiency.

- While the above materials are the most commonly used, advice from WRAP indicates that it is technically feasible for any other material (eg. metal, glass) at tertiary and secondary stages, to include at least some recycled content.

- The primary packaging stage is not covered by these criteria.

Subject Matter
Procurement of catering services, with regard to the packaging in which food is delivered.
Specification
All food delivered for the catering service, should meet the criteria, with any minor exceptions stated. Verification: a description of the packaging, or pooling system used (or statement of policy) shall be provided, together with a corresponding declaration of compliance with these criteria. Proof may be provided in compliance with BS EN 15343 on plastics recycling traceability, BS EN 13430 on recyclability or BS EN 13429 on reusability, or equivalent.
References
(1) Government packaging policy: http://www.defra.gov.uk/environment/waste/business/packaging-producer/

(2) Courtauld Agreement: http://www.wrap.org.uk/retail_supply_chain…

(3) Guidance on primary, secondary and tertiary packaging: http://www.wrap.org.uk/downloads… (pdf)

(4) Legal definitions of primary, secondary and tertiary packaging (see Article 3): http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ… (pdf)

Criteria
The on-site catering operation is run in accordance with the Carbon Trust food preparation and catering sector guide (CTV035), or equivalent.
Rationale
Energy costs in the non-commercial catering sector are often not charged to a separate catering account, but are estimated at over £200 million per year. With moderate improvements in efficiency, and effective use of equipment, savings of up to 20% are achievable. The Carbon Trust guidance presents a range of technologies, ideas and actions that offer the best opportunities for energy savings in the areas of: catering apparatus, particularly cooking, washing and refrigeration equipment; kitchen/building services, particularly heating, ventilation and lighting; and energy management and people solutions.

Subject Matter
Procurement of sustainable on-site catering operation
Specification
Energy use in the on-site catering operation is managed in accordance with the Carbon Trust food preparation and catering sector guide (CTV035). Verification: an energy management action plan, that includes a completed Action checklist (see p18 of the CT guidance), is provided, together with regular updates on progress and (where possible) measurable energy savings.
References
(1) Carbon Trust guidance at: http://www.carbontrust.co.uk/publications…
Criteria
The contractor must prove its technical and professional capability to manage the environmental impacts of its on-site operation by implementation of a recognised Environmental Management System, or equivalent.
Rationale
The aim of an Environmental Management System is to recognise organisations that actively manage their environmental impacts, and may go beyond minimum legal compliance to continuously improve their environmental performance, and produce regular reports on it. Minimising the amount of waste that is produced, reducing energy consumption and making more efficient use of resources can all lead to financial cost savings, in addition to helping to protect and enhance the environment.

There are various recognised EMS accreditation systems, ranging from comprehensive ones more suited to large organisations (eg. EMAS) to more manageable ones more suited to SMEs (eg. Acorn). A selection is included in the references below, but this is by no means an exhaustive list and equivalents may be acceptable.

Subject Matter
Procurement of a sustainable on-site catering operation.
Specification
The contractor should implement a system to manage and reduce its overall environmental impacts for its on-site operation, where possible according to a recognised Environmental Management System or equivalent.

Verification: provision and implementation of ISO 14001, BS 8555, EMAS, IEMA Acorn, or equivalent. Alternatively the contractor may develop and implement its own system for managing and minimising the environmental impacts of its on-site operations, including specific, achievable outcomes and progress on their delivery.

References
(1) ISO14001: http://www.iema.net/ems/iso14001

(2) BS8555: http://www.iema.net/ems/acorn_scheme/bs8555

(3) IEMA Acorn: http://www.iema.net/ems/acorn_scheme

(4) EMAS: http://www.iema.net/ems/emas

Page last modified: 13 December, 2011