This London Food Link survey assessed current extent and knowledge of good practice in sustainable contract catering.
Thirty businesses were contacted during June 2002 and 12 responded. Of those respondents, all demonstrated an interest in sustainability but none met all the criteria specified by the project. The five factors that were met by the majority of caterers were organic, local and Fairtrade sourcing, a policy of avoiding GMOs, and healthy eating (including vegetarian) options.
There was a good understanding of these issues amongst some but a wide variation in application of that knowledge. Several respondents were unclear of the connection between food and sustainability or did understand but felt it was difficult to apply effectively in practice.
Their primary motives for operating were assessed and environment and health came top, specified as most important by the greatest number of caterers. Next was cultural, such as promoting and serving ethnic dishes such as Indian and Mexican. Profit was specified as a primary motive by only four businesses and two listed enjoyment of cooking and social motives for their existence; the latter included a learning disabilities provider, offering catering skills training and funding of local environmental events.
Since this report, London Food Link has gone on to develop a number of initiatives to help London's caterers, chefs and restaurants to serve healthy and sustainable food. These include:
- Further reports examining in more depth the scope for healthy and sustainable food in the restaurant and catering sectors, including One Planet Dining and Recipe for a Greener Curry.
- Ethical Eats, the network for caterers and restaurants interested in healthy and sustainable food
- Food Legacy, helping caterers and the trade bodies that support them to promote healthy and sustainable food
- Sustainable Fish City, which aims to make London the first city in the world to buy, serve and eat only sustainable fish
Issues raised by caterers
- Appendix 1: Methodology
- Appendix 2: Caterers questionnaire
- Appendix 3: Caterers survey
Serving Up Sustainability: A survey of caterers in London
18pp - 2002 | 96Kb
Published 1 Jan 2002
London Food Link: London Food Link brings together community food enterprises and projects that are working to make good food accessible to everyone in London to help create a healthy, sustainable and ethical food system for all.