Phil Hooper, Corporate Affairs Director, Sodexo UK & Ireland comments on why the health agenda remains one of the most burning topics in our industry.
As an industry we all have a responsibility to help our customers make informed choices when it comes to diet and lifestyle, there has been much talk over recent months about this very topic and it is not going away.
The Department of Health’s Responsibility Deal is of great importance to the industry and in my opinion better through this format than through cumbersome regulation, I feel strongly that we should be embracing it as a great way to look beyond our own kitchens and share best practice. It is encouraging to see that companies are continuing to sign up to the various pledges and it is now accepted that it is not just about signing up to new pledges but making sure we are all focussing on succeeding in those to which we have signed..
At Sodexo we have now signed up to all the food network pledges as well as a number of others including health at work and the pledge for healthier staff restaurants. I believe a healthy workforce is a happy and more productive workforce.
Although as a responsible business we are constantly working to improve our food offers, by signing the pledges we have been able to focus our attention on the key areas which need to, and can be addressed. This is not to say that we have found it easy, by the very nature of our business it has been challenging but we have worked closely with our supply partners to achieve what we have. This work will continue and by working together the food service industry can really make a difference.
One of the successes of the Responsibility Deal for the industry has been the opportunity to work with a government agency that focuses on public health. Its Change 4 Life campaign has been a great success in educating consumers and we are hopeful that this will be replicated with the Responsibility Deal goals.
We need to leverage this partnership in promoting what our industry can do and the impact our services have on the day to day wellbeing of the British people. It is also an opportunity for us to let the government know what we can’t do. The foodservice industry for some is a bit of an enigma, no-one outside of it truly understands its complexities.
Ultimately we all have the same goal to help improve the health and wellbeing of consumers, whether our own employees or our customers. The Footprint Health & Vitality Honours is an excellent vehicle to recognise some of the hard work that has gone into making the food service industry focus on what it can do. We need to stop getting hung up on what we can’t change and look at what we can do, and excel in it.