Publications / Good Food for Our Money Campaign

You fund it, government buys it and we all pay - why we need a law for better public sector food

The report explains why government must introduce mandatory health, environmental, animal welfare and ethical standards for public sector food. It is co-written by a number of authors who are experts in their respective fields.


This report, published in support of Sustain's Good Food for Our Money campaign, has a single, simple message: that the only way to achieve a radical improvement in public sector food – for example in our schools, hospitals and care homes – is for government to introduce a new law which sets high, and rising standards for the food served.

The food that we buy causes a lot of harm, where it could be doing so much good. Nowhere is this more important that in the public sector, where government spends more than £2 billion of taxpayers’ money on more than 1 billion meals served in public organisations each year.

This report is co-written by experts in a number of fields. In their contributions, they outline how improvements in public sector food could revolutionise the way that we buy and consume food in this country – so that it is good for our health, protects the environment and invests in wider social benefits. Each author stands united that, if we are to make this improvement, standards for public sector food must be set in law.

In 2012, Sustain launched the Campaign for Better Hospital Food. Please get involved to help win compulsory health and sustainability standards for food served in hospitals!

Report contents

  • Foreword, by Professor Tim Lang of the Centre for Food Policy, City University London
  • Farming: A ‘shot in the arm’ for British farmers and the British countryside, by Dr Charles
    Trotman, Head of Rural Business Development at the Country Land and Business Association
  • Health: Put simply, good food is a matter of life and death, by Dr Mike Rayner, Director of the
    British Heart Foundation Health Promotion Research Group
  • Environment: How our climate future will be shaped by what we eat, by Tara Garnett at the Food Climate Research Network, co-written with Kath Dalmeny, Policy Director at Sustain
  • Ethics: The public sector must consider the ethics of food buying, by Dr Tom MacMillan, Director of the Food Ethics Council
  • Business: Legal standards for public sector food make good business sense, by Jonathan Gawthrop, Managing Director at Pabulum Catering Ltd
  • Action: A new law for public sector food – how it would work, by Alex Jackson, co-ordinator of the Good Food for Our Money campaign
  • References

"The government must take decisive action to ensure that the food it purchases invests in a solution to the problems we face rather than causing or perpetuating those problems. This is not telling people what to do, but setting out clear criteria for judging. Call it setting the levels for the level playing field, if you like. Investing in food can even pay for itself by reducing costs caused by ill health and damage to the environment."
Professor Tim Lang, Centre for Food Policy, City University London

Sheep farmer. Credit: Cottonbro | Pexels

Demand Government buys high-quality food for our schools and hospitals

Take our online action

You fund it, government buys it and we all pay - why we need a law for better public sector food
20pp - 2010 | 1007Kb


Published 27 Jun 2010

Good Food for Our Money Campaign: The Good Food for Our Money campaign ran from 2008 to 2011. After several notable successes, this campaign has now evolved to focus on winning healthy and sustainable food standards for hospital food, in parallel with Sustain's existing work on the Children's Food Campaign to secure healthy and sustainable food standards for school meals.

20pp - 2010


Support our charity

Donate to enhance the health and welfare of people, animals and the planet.


The Green House
244-254 Cambridge Heath Road
London E2 9DA

020 3559 6777

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.

© Sustain 2022
Registered charity (no. 1018643)
Data privacy & cookies