In spring 2009, the London Organising Committee of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) convened a Food Advisory Group to help explore how to achieve the best possible food in terms of volume, quality, safety, health and sustainability. The Food Advisory Group also set out to complement London 2012’s commitments on issues such as increasing fair trade, reducing waste, energy and greenhouse gases, and engaging diverse small- and medium-sized food enterprises; whilst also making significant contributions to the communications and legacy of the 2012 Games.
The original London 2012 Food Advisory Group included representatives from the farming, catering and food manufacturing industries, the three food sponsors of the Games (McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Cadbury), as well as the Chair of the London Food Board, Rosie Boycott (pictured right). Sustain’s policy director Kath Dalmeny was also a member, and has chaired a working group which made recommendations on serving sustainable fish for the Games.
Note: In 2011, discussions are underway to develop this into a Food Legacy Group, to help influence the wider catering sector and encourage more businesses to serve sustainable food and to support smaller and medium-sized food enterprises. These pages will be updated with information on these developments as they arise.
The London 2012 Food Vision was published on December 7, 2009, preparing the ground for "invitations to negotiate" for food contracts to be issued in spring and summer 2010, with catering contract negotiations concluding in March 2011.
In discussions leading up to publication of the London 2012 Food Vision, Sustain championed healthy, ethical and sustainable food, in line with the principles set out in Sustain’s Sustainable Food Guidelines. We also advocate this approach with private and public sector caterers, to use the momentum created by the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games to achieve a major and lasting transformation in the food system.
We also argued that the food sponsors of London 2012 - McDonald's, Coca-Cola and Cadbury could make great strides in improving the healthiness and sustainability of their own products. They are already taking steps. For example:
- McDonald’s now offers fruit as part of their children’s meals; uses British beef and organic milk; and is investing in sustainable fish
- Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate is now Fairtrade
- Coca-Cola is investigating ways to reduce packaging waste
- Rugby League World Cup (2013)
- Commonwealth Games (2014)
- Rugby Union World Cup (2015)
Event organisers could take a leaf out of Copenhagen's book. The organisers for the United Nations Climate Change Conference in December 2009 recognised food's vital role in tackling climate change. For the conference catering, they specified, among other things, 65% organic food, fair trade products, and tap water instead of bottled water. Download the UNCCC catering policy here [35kb PDF].
Olympic food will be the subject of private catering contracts. So if the privately owned catering companies can do it, then why can’t Government? After all, it’s our taxpayers’ money they are spending! We think that all food bought with public money should meet high health and sustainability standards, rather than paying for damaging products and practices. Find out more about Sustain’s Good Food for Our Money campaign.
Return to Sustain's Olympic Food home page