Skip to content


Sustainable Catering Policy 2023-2028

Last updated: 27 June 2023


The University’s catering outlets, services and products need to reflect its core values and provide windows into the wider institutional culture and practice, supporting positive experiences of living, working and learning at the University for students, staff, partners and visitors.

The Sustainable Catering Policy 2023-2028 has been developed by the Estates and Sustainability Teams in partnership with our catering partners. The policy reflects the principles and objectives of the University’s Procurement Strategy and its Sustainability Strategy 2022-2027, and supports associated targets relating to waste management and carbon emissions, as outlined its Carbon Net Zero Strategy 2021-2030. It also supports the University’s commitments regarding Fairtrade accreditation and in relation to the promotion of wellbeing of students and staff.

Catering services help to put sustainability commitments into practice and to support wellbeing for people and the wider environment. Providing healthy, seasonal, local and responsibly sourced food for staff, students and visitors is critical to the University’s reputation as a responsible institution. Food issues also engage people from all areas of the University, helping to make sustainability a meaningful, beneficial and practical concept for all.

The policy establishes clear goals and aspirations for progress over the period 2023-2028 as well as targets that can assist in monitoring its implementation.  It creates a framework for delivery of catering operations and decisions based on strong ethical, social and environmental responsibility principles. It also aims to renew progress made on objectives within the previous Catering Policy that were severely impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

It sets out the expectations placed upon the University’s catering provider, to continually improve their service offering with regard to sustainability with the aspiration of further expanding the scope, range, and reach of the sustainable catering provision. It sets ambitious targets in areas such as food waste reduction, reduction in the consumption of single use plastics and disposables, wellbeing enhancement, as well as communication and promotional activities.


Existing commitments that remain in place as cornerstones of our catering objectives:

The policy also aims for progress on the following existing objectives:

Catering Locations

The catering provision at the University consists of the following outlets:

FCH Campus

Grab and Go hub production unit for all sites
Refectory including coffee outlet
Vending provision
Hospitality provision

Park Campus

Refectory including coffee outlet
Vending provision
Hospitality provision

Oxstalls Campus

Refectory including coffee outlet
Coffee outlet in Business School
Vending provision
Hospitality provision

Hardwick Campus

Coffee outlet
Vending provision
Hospitality provision

Pittville Student Village

Refectory including coffee outlet
Vending provision
Hospitality provision

City Campus (scheduled to be opened 2024)

Coffee outlet
Vending provision

Governance and reporting

The catering contract is owned by the Estates Department and day to day performance of the Catering Provider is managed by the Head of Facilities. Performance against the objectives set out in this policy will be reviewed during the Catering Review Meetings. Overall performance against this policy will be reviewed during the annual Sustainability Performance Review meeting and performance against selected targets will be reported in the Annual Sustainability Report. The Sustainability Operations Manager will work with the Head of Facilities to ensure that the catering partner works in accordance with the aims of this policy.

The oversight, review and reporting processes in place for this policy include the following:

EventReporting itemsMonitoring responsibility
Monthly Catering review meetingsRequired data to include:  
– User feedback
– Waste including food waste
– Initiatives/promotions  
Head of Facilities and Sustainability Operations Manager
Annual policy review– Progress against policy objectives and action plan targets, highlights and key issuesHead of Facilities and Sustainability Operations Manager
Annual Sustainability ReportingRequired metrics to include:  
– % food prepared fresh on site
– % vegetarian or vegan provision
– Food waste by % of total waste
– % Consumption of disposables cups
– % Fairtrade food sales by specific categories
– % local sourcing within 35 miles
Director of Sustainability & Sustainability Operations Manager

The University reserves the right to review and amend the policy and/or its objectives and targets at any time during this period, in conjunction with its catering partners, if new information or additional opportunities for improvement become available.

Metrics and Targets

1. Ensure that percentage of the menu that is vegetarian and/or vegan increases annually.Current baseline 44%.  Minimum 2% increase year on year (target 50%).  Caterer to record and report achievement annually to Catering Review Meeting at a minimum.
2. Reduce food miles associated with food transport and support the local economy by ensuring % of produce sourced in Gloucestershire or adjacent county is increased year on year.    Local produce baseline = 46% produce sourced within GL postcode Proposed 50% by 2026.Caterer to record and report achievement annually to Catering Review Meeting at a minimum.
3. Increase the % of food prepared fresh on siteCurrent baseline = 84%. Target 88% by 2028Caterer to record and report achievement annually to Catering Review Meeting at a minimum .
4. Demonstrate an increase year on year in the sale of Fairtrade products care of the University catering operation.Current baseline = 10% (% of sales value).  Target 12.5% by 2028.Caterer to record and report achievement annually to Catering Review Meeting as well as quarterly as part of Fairtrade Steering Committee meetings.  
5. Reduction demonstrated year on year in consumption of disposable cups .  Current baseline = 16% of hot drinks used disposable cup. Target 0% by 2028  Caterer to record and report achievement annually to Catering Review Meeting at a minimum.
6. Cost of food wastage as % of overall food purchases to be recorded weekly, monitored and reduced year on year.  Current baseline 2.8% – target 2.5% by 2026  Caterer to record and report achievement annually to Catering Review Meeting at a minimum.

Appendix 1: Summary of service requirements

Standards and certifications– Catering provider to be certified to ISO50001 & ISO14001 or suitable alternative.
– Maintain MSC registration. 
– All fish procured by catering partner to be purchased from an MSC certified supplier. 
– Any and all fish utilised via catering outlets to feature on the MSC ‘Certified Fish to eat’ list.
– All tuna supplied for consumption at UoG to be pole or line caught.
– Provider to recertify to the Gold Food for Life accreditation at a time to be mutually agreed with the University.
– Provider to be a Fairtrade certified organisation and/or support UoG with priority actions to maintain Fairtade certification (e.g. partnership meetings, accreditation data/evidence, promotional activities, increased Fairtrade sales, etc).
Service provision  – Catering staff fully briefed on food served regarding sustainability, allergens and diversity e.g. Halal items
– Ensure that any and all smaller and local suppliers are not discriminated against by catering partner in respect to the procurement process.  
Plant and equipment  – Always purchase A-rated, high efficiency appliances and equipment for catering purposes.
– Vending provision supplied via EVA A rated machinery as the minimum. 
Cleaning and waste– Only environmentally friendly cleaning products are used in the catering facilities.
– All food waste from kitchens, refectories and food service areas to be collected and disposed of as food waste for anaerobic digestion (or similar process).
– All waste /used oil to be collected and used in the production of biofuel.
– Provider to reduce disposable food/drink packaging and wrapping on a yearly basis.
– Provider to support use of customer food/beverage containers where possible.
Food packaging and disposables/single use items– Minimise the use/provision of single use disposables (eg disposable cups).
– Discount to be applied when customers utilise their own cup, or surcharge applied for use of disposable cup.
– Re-usable packaging available and clearly advertised for all catering offers.
– Internal hospitality default provision is to provide crockery, glass, cutlery, and tap water – and to avoid use of disposable cups and bottled water.
– Exceptions to the default internal hospitality practices agreed with the University for larger scale activities (e.g. Open Days) to explore alternatives that proactively minimise waste and single use items.
Food and drink offerings and ingredients  – At least 44% of the catering offer care of refectories are either vegetarian or vegan.
– At least 46% of produce procured via catering operations is sourced within 35 miles of the University.
– Pricing options in catering offer ensure that diversity of menus are provided to suit all budgets.
– Hospitality menus for meetings and events offer a range of pricing options that showcase sustainable produce.
– Provision of free range eggs in all University catering as standard.
– Rapeseed oil to be used for all frying and relevant food production.
– Adoption of suitable process to reduce food waste, including provision of surplus food to local food distribution services. Cost of food waste to be tracked.
– Vending machines to supply healthy options, and to optimise the offer of responsibly sourced hot drinks.
Communications and promotion– Survey students and staff on a regular basis to seek customer feedback, including monitoring customer demand around sustainability and diversity in the catering offer.
– Promotions linked to sustainability campaigns, initiatives, accreditations and performance assessment exercises (e.g. Fairtrade, People & Planet university league).
– Positive promotion of healthy food, healthy eating options and benefits as least once a week during term time.
– Clear labelling and regular promotion of more sustainable food options linked to social media and MyGlos.
– No promotion of non-healthy foods including soft drinks, high sugar foods, high salt content products, high fat, high processed and confectionery items.

Was this article helpful?