UK's largest childcare provider achieves Food for Life award for serving healthy food
In March 2012, Busy Bees, the UK’s largest childcare provider, were awarded the bronze Food for Life Catering Mark for 129 nurseries across England and Wales. This guarantees that all 14,000 meals served to children at Busy Bees nurseries are freshly prepared from seasonal ingredients, meet nutritional standards, are better for animal welfare, and exclude endangered fish. They are also free from additives which have been shown to affect children’s behaviour, so that parents can be assured that their children are being fed wholesome food.
The Food for Life Catering Mark is open to all food providers. The standards are very similar to those of the London 2012 Food Vision, so the Food Legacy programme and Food for Life are working in partnership to promoe healthy and sustainable food in a range of catering sector. In the Food for Life programme, the bronze, silver and gold tiers offer a step-by-step route to serving more locally produced, seasonal, healthy and organic food.
Busy Bees employ a dedicated catering team at each of their nurseries, all of whom are required to complete an Early Years Nutrition course. Mel Fox, Catering Manager at Busy Bees, commented on their achievement, “We are proud to have achieved the Food for Life Catering Mark. This award means that parents can be certain that the food their children are eating at nursery is freshly prepared using quality ingredients. The Catering Mark offers recognition for the high standard of our food and provides an independent guarantee from the Soil Association that we’re really providing the best food service for the children.”
Rob Sexton, Chief Executive of Soil Association Certification, explained the role of the Catering Mark, "The bronze Catering Mark is an excellent achievement which recognises the vital role that fresh, seasonal meals play in healthy and planet-friendly menus. One in four children are overweight when they start primary school so developing healthy eating habits at nursery is vital to get them on the right path for the future. The Catering Mark reassures parents that their children’s meals at nursery are prepared from scratch.”