The story so far

What we want 

We’re calling on the Westminster government to apply higher standards to hospital food so that it’s freshly cooked with care, nutritious and made using the best natural ingredients. The government could easily do this by:

  • Setting new, higher quality standards for hospital food.
  • Putting the standards into law.
  • Getting the standards checked by an independent organisation trusted by patients and staff.

Why we want it

As our photo gallery shows, hospital food in England is a cause of national shame. Hospital meals are often awful, contain processed junk and, unsurprisingly, most of it is thrown into the bin. We know it can be so much better than this, without costing more.

Setting higher standards for hospital food, putting these standards into law and getting them independently monitored by an organisation trusted by staff and visitors would:

  • Increase the number of freshly cooked patient meals
  • Save money in the long term, by giving hospitals the power to buy their own food ingredients from the best local suppliers
  • Improve health
  • Help tackle pollution and the human, animal and environmental misery caused by the production of cheap processed hospital food
  • Guarantee that higher standards are being met and strengthened over time to keep improvements coming

To read more about the benefits of what we want to achieve, see our Keep hospitals cooking, Making more of the money we spend on hospital food and Time to come clean about hospital food publications.

Success since 2012

In August 2014, we helped to push the government into setting hospital food standards in England, for the first time. But despite this progress the standards that apply to hospital food are hopelessly weak, are not being properly monitored and are likely to be ignored.

We therefore continue to put pressure on the government to fix hospital food for good.

Other Sustain projects

The Campaign for Better Hospital Food is one of a number of projects and campaigns run by Sustain to improve the food we eat. These include:

To discover more about Sustain’s projects and campaigns please visit

The shocking truth





Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming

Sustain advocates food and agriculture policies and practices that enhance the health and welfare of people and animals, improve the working and living environment, promote equity and enrich society and culture.