THE UNIVERSITY of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) is the first university in the UK to achieve a Food for Life Gold Catering Mark from the Soil Association for its banqueting and events services across all campuses.
The Soil Association’s Catering Mark provides an independent endorsement that food providers are taking steps to improve the food that they serve, using fresh ingredients which are free from trans fats, harmful additives and genetically modified products (GM), and are better for animal welfare. Catering Services are audited by the Association annually to ensure they meet high standards of provenance and traceability, providing reassurance to customers that meals are freshly prepared using environmentally-sustainable and seasonal ingredients.
The University has been awarded the Gold Catering Mark for its banqueting and events catering and is the first University in the UK to achieve this accolade for a service provided across its campuses. UWTSD has also the first University in Wales to be awarded a Silver Award for its lunch services which include the popular Sunday carveries served at its restaurants in Carmarthen and Lampeter.
Janine Lewis-Screen, Catering Manager at the Carmarthen campus, who co-ordinated the process on behalf of the University, said “We’re delighted to receive these awards, particularly the Gold Award for our banqueting and events and the Silver for our lunch services. When we looked at the criteria for the silver award, we felt that we were already doing most of what was required. For example, we serve Fair Trade products, we buy our fresh produce from local suppliers, 5% of our overall catering budget is spent on organic food, including milk, vegetables, products for our soups etc”.
University Chef Kevin Hodson added “This has been the result of excellent team work and the catering staff across the University’s campuses have been really enthusiastic. We have developed an excellent reputation for the quality of our catering services and, of course, that reputation begins with good food from good quality sources”.
The list of the University’s suppliers include companies operating in the immediate environs of its campuses in Lampeter, Carmarthen, and Swansea as part of the University’s commitment to sustainable development across its campuses, curriculum, culture and community.
The University has placed sustainability at the heart of its planning which has been developed through its Institute of Sustainable Practice and Resource Efficiency (INSPIRE). Jane Davidson, Director of INSPIRE and Associate Pro-Vice Chancellor for External Engagement said “We are delighted to support local producers and suppliers and are proud to list their names in our restaurants across all of our campuses. The awards meet demands for traceability, integrity and good provenance of the food that we serve. There is a growing awareness of the link between good food, health, academic attainment and the environment. Students, staff and the University’s wider community are increasingly concerned about where their food comes from and we are in a unique position to lead the way in facilitating a change in their buying and eating habits. I am delighted that UWTSD is the only University in the UK to achieve the Soil Association’s Gold Mark for its university-wide banqueting service”.
As people become more concerned about where their meals come from, the Catering Mark enables providers to meet the demands for traceable, sustainable and healthy food.
The guiding principles for the Soil Association’s Catering Mark enable providers to demonstrate that they provide fresh trustworthy food, that they source environmentally sustainable and ethical food, that they champion local food producers and that they make choosing healthy options as easy as possible.
“These principles are increasingly important for UWTSD. During a week when Wales celebrates its farming community at the Royal Welsh Show and as we look forward to the Lampeter Food Festival to be held on our campus this coming Saturday, it is important to demonstrate the role the University plays in supporting the local economy and the future sustainability of its communities”, Jane Davidson concluded.